MS Viswanathan: 10 beautiful songs from the Ilaiyaraaja era, the 1980s

Posted on July 14, 2020


It’s been five years since the greatest melodic innovator of Tamil film music passed on. Here are ten songs that showcase his creativity even in his past-his-prime phase.

There’s a point in every composer’s career where the baton is passed on to the next generation. There’s a new king, so to speak. In MS Viswanathan’s case, the dethroning happened in the late 1970s, but he continued to keep making music. Wiki lists 21 films in 1980 — by which time the great composer’s successor was well and truly entrenched. Here are ten of my favourite songs from the “Ilaiyaraaja era”.

Amman alangaram (Oru Varisu Uruvagiradhu, 1982): Signature rhythm work (a drums-tabla combo-percussion), singers (SPB/Vani Jairam) in top form, and melodic phrasings to die for. The three opening lines in the pallavi are flat, each one descending a note from the earlier one, and then, there’s an unexpected climb at “artha jaama naeram”. The second and fourth lines of the charanam-s, too, are breathtaking, with minor notes casually being strewn.

Read the rest of this article here:

Copyright ©2020 Film Companion.