Tamil Music directors and SJ ! – Random thoughts
by Subramaniamviswanathan @ SJ yahoo grp
Viswanathan- Ramamurthy(V-R) were somewhat as brilliant and as prolific in TFM in the 60s as were S-J in HFM. But quantity-wise V-R bagged and scored for a huge no. of films, I would say bulk of the Tamil films in the 60s, their only able competitor being K.V. Mahadevan of ‘Shankarabharanam’ fame who was an accomplished genius of his own class. So you can imagine the equivalent combined work of S-J, SDB, MM, OPN, Naushad and half a dozen more top-grade MDs, V-R and KVM were handling themselves on the Tamil front. I believe there would have been as many Tamil films churned out in the 60s as Hindi films, give and take some. So it is a huge quantum of output we are talking about and the beautiful thing is that it hardly showed on the quality! KVM experimented in Hindustani classical as well, which he used in one mythological film ‘Karnan’ with outstanding effects. V-R combined successfully popular music with aesthetic appeal for more than a decade, until they decided to part ways in the early 70s. Ramamurthy went into oblivion, whereas M.S.Viswanathan or MSV, as popular known is still active and to date the most senior and well-known MD in Tamil cinema. So they were definitely not chhoti-moti cheez!
There were umpteen Tamil films, mostly family melodramas that were re-made in Hindi in the 60s, and most often than not, I dare to say, that the music in Hindi versions fell short of the quality that the Tamil originals had. Somehow, barring S-J, other stalwart MDs could not really re-create the magic of V-R and KVM’s original scores. Some glaring examples are Nazrana, Raakhi, Gauri, Khandaan, Mehrbaan ( all Ravi), Aadmi, Ram aur Shyam, Saathi ( all Naushad) and Pyar kiye Jaa (L-P) – I think in the last mentioned, Director Sridhar & L-P totally missed the bus even with Kishore Kumar in the lead, whereas the original hit ‘Kadhalikka Neramillai’ had an array of delightful songs by V-R that are still as fresh and popular as ever. There were more re-makes that followed which were damp squibs; ‘Lakhonme ek’ (RDB), ‘Teen Bahuraniyan’ (K-A) etc. RDB did not take a chance in another re-make, ‘Do Phool’. He straightaway lifted ‘Muthu kulikka vaarigala’ as it was in the original V-R version!
So was there a silver lining in the Hindi re-makes?
Yes, it was S-J’s music As Mr. Natarajan had noted in an earlier mail, it is difficult to judge whether ‘Dil Ek Mandir’’s music was better or the original ‘Nenjil Or aalayam’ by V-R was better. Both were classy and carried the respective composers’ individual styles. ‘Zindagi’ was as good as the original as well. If KVM’s ‘Iruvar ullam’ was a musical delight, then so was S-J’s ‘Hamrahi’, the Hindi version. I guess one of the most successful Tamil film-maker Sridhar banked on S-J for his Hindi re-makes like ‘Dil ek mandir’, ‘Dharti’ and ‘Duniya kya jane’ after occasional straying in ‘Nazrana’ and ‘Pyar kiye jaa’. S-J also did not disappoint in ‘Main Sundar Hoon’ which was a re-make of the Tamil hit ‘Server Sundaram’. (You can see the respective MDs composing music in a song sequence of these films!) . I must also mention that when Hindi films with S-J’s music were re-made in Tamil, the Tamil music lagged behind in quality! A classic example is ‘Brahmachari’. Its remake ‘Enga Mama’ which had MSV’s music, was a pale comparison to Brahmachari’s songs! During that period, Viswanathan and Ramamurthy had split ways, and Tamil music went on a descent, only to be resurrected by another up-coming genius in the mid- 70s by the name ‘Ilayaraja’! ( He has composed for few Hindi films like ‘Sadma’ and the recent ‘Chini kum’).