Monday, April 22, 2013

The Voice and Verve from Malaysia.





      Film talents are omnipresent.A limb of an Indian family that migrated to Malaysia decades ago,came back to Tamil Nadu, to find a proud position in the Tamil film industry and to become closer to the hearts of thousands of fans all over the art- loving state. It was late Vasudevan, who was rechristened as Malaysia Vasudevan to claim a distinct identity for himself, based on his twin talents of singing and histrionics. It is difficult to classify him as an actor singer or singer actor because he has excelled in both the fields with equal amount of ease and zeal.In other words,his vigour exhibited in the two competitive areas has been a riveting experience not only for him who delivered outputs of extraordinary quality but also for those who received his performance as something truly and happily engaging.The Tamil audience remember him with genuine reverence and admiration.
     Vasudevan was always compact in two important categories of acting.Villainy was his natural forte.Character acting is the other zone that naturally suited his acting credentials.The most significant factor was his casual acting mode and controlled as well as subdued dialogue delivery.He hardly used to raise his voice unnecessarily while essaying villainous characters.May be the singer in him dominated every time, when he happened to record dialogues, reflecting different emotions like greed,envy,anger joy and grief. No one can forget his gripping performance as villain, in Barathi Raja's Oru Kaidhiyin Diary and Manivanna's Mudhal Vasandham. These two films are special pointers to his capacity for effortless walkover to the territory of remarkable villainy.The hidden element of lust forming part of the negative performance was integrated with a rapacious mindset and nothing looked artificial though hateful,the characters were. Vasudevan would have acted in a little more than fifty movies.The other characters that he portrayed periodically were that of village chieftain, landlord,corrupt politician or government official,and father roles.
     It is natural that such a talented actor was sought after during a period when Tamil film industry had lost great actors like S.V.Renga Rao,T.S.Balaiah S.V.Subbiah and M.R.Radha.Vasudevan effectively filled the gap, like Vinu Chakravarthy,the other wonderful actor of this period.It is no wonder that such a capable actor became a value addition in the films of Rajinikanth {Oorkavalan}
Kamalahasan {Oru Kaidhiyin Diary} Vijayakanth {Poonthotta Kaavalkaaran and Therkathikallan}
Sathyaraj {Mudhal Vasantham,Kadamai Ganniyam Kattuppadu, Jallikkattu and Amaidippadai}
Vijay {Poove Unakkaaga and Badri},and Pandiarajan {Kadhaanaayagan and Gopala Gopala}.
He has also made his presence greatly felt in films like Jallikkattu Kaalai, Dhinandorum and Punnagai Desam, besides acting in the movies of front line directors like Manirathnam {Thiruda Thiruda}and Rajeev Menon {Kandugondein Kandugondein}.The two films of Sivaji Ganesan that inducted the talent of Malasia Vasudevan were, Jallikattu and Pooparikka Varugirom.
    The musical contribution of Vasudevan has definitely enriched the quality and quantum of Tamil film music by his versatile style of singing and volume of albums.Starting with his 'Kodaikaala Kaatre' {Pannir Pushpangal} his melodies have occupied our souls with sweetness and warmth through solo and duet songs like 'Kovilmani Oesaidhannai' {Kizhakke Pogum Rayil}' Pattu Vanna Selaikkaari [Engeyo Kettakural] Oru Thangarathathil' ,'Ahaaya Gangai' {Dharma Yudham}'Sugam Sugame Thoda Thodathaane'{Naan Poetta Savaal}'Devadhai Poel Oru Pennonru' sung with Mano{Gopura Vaasalile} 'Devanin Koilile'{Vellai Roja} 'Oru Koottukkilyaaga' {Padikkadhavan}'Poove Ilaiya Poove'{Kozhi Koovudhu}'Malaiyorum Mayile' {Oruvar Vaazhum Aalayam}'Kaadhal Vaiboegame' {Suvar Illaadha Sithirangal}'Koodaluru Gundumalli'{Kumbakkarai Thangaiyya}and 'Anandha Theinkaatru Thaalaattudhu' {Manipur maamiyaar},the last one sung in the manner of Chidambaram Jayaraman,the famous singer of the last millennium.Malaysia Vasudevan has mostly remained as the sponsored pet singer of music maestro Ilayaraja and his brother Gangai Amaran. The only one popular duet number of Malaysia Vasudevan sung under A.R.Rehaman's composition was 'Poo Pookum Aasai' from Minsaara kanavu.
    A few songs of joyous outburst from Vasudevan's voice were 'Aasai Nooruvagai{Adutha Vaarisu},'Aattukkutti Muttaiyittu'{16 Vayadhinile}''Aaha Vandituchu'{Kalyaana Raaman} 'Maamaavukku Kudumaa' {Punnagai Mannan}' Maappillaikku Maaman Manasu'{Netrikkan} and 'Ennama Kannu' sung  along with SPB {Mr.Barath}.There were also forceful numbers showing religious fervour, instructional lead and personal determination like' Maariammaa',' Ooruvittu Ooruvandhu' with Gangai Amaran.{both from Karahaatakkaaran} 'En Thaayinmeedhu Aanai' {Mr.Barath}'Singam Onru Purappattathe'{Arunaachalam}.Similarly we can hardly afford to ignore the grief laden songs like Ponmaana Thedi {Enga Oor Raasaathi},'Yaar Paadum Paadal Enraalum'[Paatukku Naan Adimai}and the ever fascinating 'Poongaatru Thirumbumaa'{Mudhal Mariyaadhai}.
   Unlike several other singers like TMS,Sirkazhi Govindarajan ,Chidambaram Jayaraman SPB and K.J.Yesudas Malaysia Vasudevan survived in the field of music without a prominent base of the Carnatic thrust.But he had a clear and sweet voice pattern that seemed to be a combination ofTMS, Tiruchi Loganathan and Chidambaram Jayaraman. If he had entered the Tamil film industry a couple of decades earlier, he would definitely have proved himself as a preferred singer for the movies of MGR and Sivaji Ganesan because his voice throw would have matched to a great extent the voices of those two legendary heroes.During these days, when the masculine verve is missing, in the voice and singing manner of many singers,the absence of a powerful male voice like that of Malaysia Vasudevan has created a void.
    Vasudevan was one who could sing like himself and also like TMS and Chidambaram Jayaraman. Without exerting himself he could create a musical impact that could create indelible impressions in the minds of the listeners.It is a known fact that but for the massive support and accommodation of Amma Creations and the musical prophet Ilayaraja, Vasudevan could not have grown to the levels that he had reached.But it could also be said that Vasudevan gave a lot of hits for his pet music director and made him proud.The other vital fact is that as an actor, he silently lived up to the expectations of the film makers who reposed faith in him, by making his roles reach the audience with their relevant dynamics and subtleties,thereby making himself, a potential asset to the ever growing Tamil film society. No doubt, the voice and verve of Vasudevan from Malaysia, enriched Tamil Cinema with an incomparable hold for a magnificent show, during the Nineteen eighties and nineties.
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