Saturday, June 15, 2013

T.M.S, The Vocal Cord of Tamil Film Music.








         The mighty voice that ruled the domain of play back singing in Tamil Cinema, for more than three decades was that of T.M.Soundarajan, popularly known as TMS. A stentorian voice it was, capable of an unimaginable high pitch, as well as an attractive, soothing ebb. My memory of the old film 'Sadharam' is tied to that great male voice singing 'Ninaindhu Ninaindhu Nenjam Urugudhe' in his most capable high pitch. The other wonderful pieces in this genre are 'Erikaraiyin Mele'[ Mudalali] 'Enge Nimmadhi',[Pudhiya Paravai] 'Aiyiram Kaigal Maraithu Ninraalum'[Arasa Kattalai] 'Paattum Naane Bhavamum naane' [Thiruvilaiyadal]and 'Yaarukkaha idhu Yaarukkaha'[Vasantha Maaligai].The  voice of TMS rose and fell with simultaneous ease and corresponding flow of pitch and melody,in the song 'Padaithaane, Manidhanai  Aandavan Padaithaane' from Nichaya Thamboolam Maadhavi Pon Mayilaal' from Iru Malargal and 'Manidhan Ninaipadhundu' from Avanthaan Manidhan.
     In an excelling tone he has sung  philosophical songs like 'Satti Suttadhada Kai Vittadhada'[Aalaya mani] 'Veedu Varai Uravu'[Paadha Kaanikkai] 'Ponaal Pogattum Poda'[Paalum Pazhamum]’Ullam Enbadhu Aamai’ {Paarthaal Pasitheerum}’Aaru Maname Aaru’{Aandavan Kattalai} ‘Iravum Varum Pagalum Varum’{Iravum Pagalum}’Annan Kaattiya Vazhiyammaa’{Padithaal Mattum Podhuma} and ‘Annan Ennadaa Thambiennadaa’{Pazhani}.His ever soothing melodies are 'Naan oru Kuzhandhai'and  'Tharaimel Pirakkavittaan' [Padahotti] 'Thaalaattupadi Thaaiyaagavendum’[Praaptham]'Paalum Pazhamum Kaigalilendhi [Paalum Pazhamum] ‘Kan Poena Poekkile’{Panam Padaithavan} and 'Pattuvannachittu Padaguthurai Vittu' {Parisu] and many more. No other singer would have used his voice for singing, with such a tremendous effect of clarity of words, control of pitch and quality of emotion like TMS. 
     The most masculine voice of TMS perfectly matched that of the two mega heroes MGR and Sivaji whose song sequences made the audience feel as though the actors themselves were singing the songs. Most of the films of these two legendary actors, were significantly supported by the songs rendered by TMS on their behalf. The songs were all context oriented, meaningful and musically rich components of the movies contributing additional value to their entertainment scope so as to draw the repeated visit of the audience.
      While the voice of TMS enriched the philosophical depth of Sivaji's songs, it became the life breath of MGR songs that were meant for promoting a feel of personal and social well - being through self-actualization. The revolutionary movement envisaged by the Dravidian Party and its acknowledged heart throb MGR, could create an emotional base and platform for its acceptability, only through the captivating voice of TMS, delivering the thought provoking songs of optimism with a forthright vision for the future. Starting from the most famous ’Ethanai Kaalamdhaan’ from Malaikkallan there would be at least one solo revolutionary song in each MGR film, sung by TMS and undoubtedly, it was the winning voice of TMS that would have made the song popular and made the lyrics live for ever. This trend continued till the early Nineteen Seventies until S.P.Balasubramanyam and K.J.Yesudoss became the personal preferences of MGR. 
      The voice of TMS made the songs of MGR outlive his life time and continues to ring in the ears of every one, because revolution is neither static nor time bound. Human society will continue to uphold revolutionary thoughts closer to their heart and in such a back ground the voice of TMS will linger in the ears of music lovers as a tonic force making them dream new social dreams and move to newer goals of social advancement. His masters’ voice will bring memories of MGR and Sivaji, besides controlling human emotions through its vital, vocal cord impressions.
      The devotional numbers of TMS recorded separately and sung  for some movies deserve a special mention, because of the depth and feel of his voice in penetrating into human hearts with spiritual depth and force.Film songs like 'Thillai Ambala Nataraajaa'  {Sowbagyavadhi}Sindanai Sei Maname' {Ambigapathi} and ‘Pitha Pirai Soodi Perumaane' {Thiruvarutchelvar}and devotional pieces like ‘Karpagavalliyin’ and several songs on Lord Muruga are still being played at temples during the early hours every morning, in the Tamil month Margazhi. The vast and extraordinary contribution of a felicitous singer like TMS cannot be satisfactorily  acknowledged and complimented.I could record here only a little bit of my appreciation and love for his amazing singing potential. Today, the man with his mighty voice is no more. But his sterling, immortal vocal cords, will continue to ring tunes in the memory lanes of music lovers, as the base of traditional music, as well as the eternal core of Tamil film music.No other Tamil singer can occupy his place in terms of clarity of Tamil words,and majesty of voice delivery .In this respect, TMS would ever remain irreplaceable.
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