Monday, October 14, 2013

The Founding Father of Tamil Film Music.

     When Tamil Cinema was gradually deepening its roots for stable and sustained growth, the factors that were considered to be fundamentally indispensable were, a neat story line,perfect plot conception, narration of events and characters and amalgamation of integrated musical component including intermittent song sequences. In fact, background music and songs were viewed as the greatest selling element. It was at this juncture, music composers of universal appeal, became more and more relevant.Though in every field there are participants of talent and merit, some are fortunate to become the leading light in their field. It was in this respect, a music director with an extraordinary control and grasp for tunes appeared to be a maker of miracles.The initial decades of Tamil film music came under the felicitous influence of a fabulous music maker, whose arrival at the tinsel city from the temple town Tiruchirappalli, generated lifetime tunes, at a time when keyboards were unheard of. It was G.Ramanathan, the predecessor of a vast number of musicians like Viswanathan and Ramamurthy,K.V.Mahadevan and others.
    G.Ramanathan's hey days of music composition started from the release of films like Aariyamaala,Jagdalaprdhaban,Sivakavi and Haridas, which were movies of veteran singers-cum- actors like P.U.Chinnappa and M.K.Thiagaraja Baghavadhar. Mind blowing songs  of MKT such as ‘Ambaa Manam Kanindhu’,'Krishna Muhundhaa Muraare’ and ‘Manmadha Leelaiyai Venraar undoe’ all from Haridas and ‘Soppana Vazhvil Magizhndhu’ from Sivakavi were exuberantly tuned by  G.Ramanathan. During his starting days Ramanathan would really have found it tough to match his tunes to the glorious voice of M.K.T.
    Ramanathan had composed music for M.G.R films like Mandhirikumari. Madhurai Veeran  Sakravarthi Thirumagal  Pudhumai Pithan,Raja Desingu and Arasilankumari. The immortal songs like 'Vaaraai Nee Vaaraa’i,’Ulavum Thenral Kaatrinile’‘Naadagamellaam Kandein’‘Ullam Rendum Onru’ and ‘Sinnappayale Sinnappayale Sedhi Kelada’ were from his golden hands, playing ecstatic tunes.For Sivaji Ganesan, the number is much more.It includes great films like Vanangamudi, Uthamaputhiran,Thookku Thooki, Ambikapathi,Saarangathaaraa,Naan Petra Selvam, Manamagan Thevai,Naan Sollum Ragasiyam, Raani Lalidhaangi, Veera Paandia Kattabomman and Kappaloettiya Thamizhan, the last two were from  Padmini Pictures of B.R.Pantulu .Songs that continue to enchant our ears from some of these movies are, 'Mogana Punnagai Veesidum Nilave' 'Vasanthamullai Poelei Vandhu Asaindhu Aadum Penpuraave’‘Mullai Malar Mele’,’Kaathiruppaan Kamalakannan’’Vaazhndhaalum Eisum Thaazhndhaalum Eisum’ ‘Poovaa Maramum Poothathe’ ’Sundari Soundari Nirandariye’,’'Pambara Kannaale',Vellipani Malaiyin Meedhulaavuvoem’,’Enru Thaniyum Indha Sudhandhira Dhaagam’ and almost all the songs of Ambikapathi, because it was a movie that ran more for its musical richness than for other reasons.
    Gemini Ganesan’s  films Sadhaaram and Karpukkarasi became more popular with wonderful songs like ‘Ninandh Ninaindhu Nenjam Uruguthe’from the former, sung in high pitch through out, by T.M.Soundarajan and the lovely duet 'Kaniyaa Kanniyaa' from the latter
   The three spiritual films that celebrate the memory of Ramanathan’s music are Pattinathaar, Arunagirinaathar and Srivalli. More than Pattinathaar and Srivalli almost all the songs from Arunagirinathar{with T.R.Papa}were magnificent in composition and delivery, the majestic voice of TMS augmenting the grandeur of Ramanathan’s music. The songs of T.R.Mahalingam as Naaradhar  were of course the special features of Srivalli. The other TMS starring Pattinathaar could not  be underrated as far as the tunes were concerned.
    The Modern Theatres’ films such as Ponmudi,Paarijaatham,Maheswari, Mandhirikumaari, Aaravalli, Aayiram Thalai Vaangiya Aboorva Sindhaamani and Thirumbippaar, stood to gain a lot of popularity  because of  Ramanathan’s well composed tunes. The other two  fairly received movies for which Ramanathan composed music were Samaya Sanjeevi and Gomathiyin Kaadhalan The great duet ‘Gama Gamavena NarumalarManam Veesudhe' in the beautiful  voice of P.B.Srinivas and Jikki added to the success of Samaya Sanjeevi. The melting melodies 'Minnuva- dhellaam Ponnenru Enni'{Jikki and Thiruchi Loganathan] and ‘Vaanamaadhil Neendhi Odum Vennilaave’{Sirkazhi Govindarajan}will eternally speak of Ramanathan’s musical depth and influence.
     Later, G.Ramanathan also composed music for K.S.Gopalakrishnan’s film Dheivathin Dheivam that is still remembered for its musical component than for other factors.The melting melodies from this film are P.Susheela's  'Nee Illaadha Ulagathile Nimmadhi Illai' 'Engirundha Poedhum Unai Marakkamudiyumaa' and S.Janaki's the most exalting 'Kannan Mananilaiyai'. Ramanathan set the right traditions that would sway their hold for ever in the music governed,Tamil film industry.His instrumental wield was a dynamic factor, in the sense that he never resorted to the use of too many instruments for one song. What ever other music directors have done, could be called a follow up in that direction.As a trend setter, Ramanaathan could justifiably be called the founding father of Tamil film music.


  1. Songs from Kaaveri,Dr Savithri and Vaazhvile oru naal were also noteworthy.

    1. Unfortunately, I did not see all the three films.Any how,
      thanks for this update.

  2. I just saw the movie Aaravalli. I could see many songs that came after that movie had copied the tunes in that movie. The music directors used the tunes includes K. V Mhadevan.

    Ex: 1. Unnai kan theduthe-kanavane kan kanda deivam
    2. Kallile kalaivannm kandan- Kumudham.

    These are my observations: You can write me if these clims are correct.

    Dr. John

  3. Thank you for your valid views.I have also responded through my Gmail link.

  4. Thank you for your valid views.I have also responded through my Gmail link.