M. S. Viswanathan

M. S. Viswanathan

Manayangath Subramanian Viswanathan, also known as M.S.V., is a Kollywood music director and composer from South India. He is popularly known as Mellisai Mannar. He has composed songs in Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu for over 1200 films. His major works over the past five decades have been in Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu films. He has also acted and sung in a few Tamil films. The Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa conferred the Thirai Isai Chakravarthy title on him in August 2012 and presented him with 60 gold coins and a new car. Viswanathan composed film music together with composer and violinist T. K. Ramamoorthy in the 1950s and early 1960s, as Viswanathan–Ramamoorthy and since then he has worked independently as a composer.

Viswanathan was born on 24 June 1928 to Manayangath Subramanian and Narayanikutty in Elappully village in Palakkad, Kerala, India. He lost his father when he was four. He was saved by his grandfather when his mother decided to kill him and herself as an escape from abject poverty and lack of support. As a child, he sold refreshments in a movie theatre for a living, and he learned music from Neelakanda Bhagavathar in the period 1933–1939 resulting in his first stage performance in Trivandrum when he was only 13 years old.

Viswanathan had always wanted to be an actor and singer, but was not successful. He had had a few small roles in stage dramas in the 1940s. The composer and violinist T. R. Papa met Viswanathan, took a liking to him and arranged a job for him as an errand boy for S. V. Venkatraman’s musical troupe. In that company of musicians, Viswanathan realised that he had the inclination and the potential for composing music. He thereafter joined S. M. Subbaiah Naidu and at times assisted him. He then joined C. R. Subburaman’s musical troupe as a harmonium player. Here, he met T. K. Ramamoorthy and T. G. Lingappa, the two leading violinists at that time. T. G. Lingappa also became a renowned music composer on his own in the 1950s.

In 1952, C. R. Subburaman died unexpectedly. Ramamoorthy and Viswanathan joined together and completed the background music for the films Subburaman was working on, including Devadas, Chandirani and Marumagal. N. S. Krishnan knew them both fairly intimately and also their respective talents by then because of his close relationship with C.R.Subburaman, with whom he had worked earlier in several films. Viswanathan and Ramamoorthy were asked to write the music for Panam, a 1952 film produced by A. L. Seenivasan and directed by N. S. Krishnan. Later the duo was asked to do the background score for the film Ratha Kanneer by its music composer C. S. Jayaraman.

The duo composed for over 100 films from 1952-1965. On 16 June 1963 at a special function M. S. Viswanathan and T. K. Ramamoorthy were each given the title of Mellisai Mannar. It was granted by Sivaji Ganesan at the Madras Triplicane Cultural Academy. The function was supported and facilitated by the Hindu Group of Publications, especially Mr. T. M. Ramachandran, Director C. V. Sridhar and Chitralaya Gobu.
Viswanathan was married to Janaki and they have four sons and three daughters. His wife, Janaki, died on 14 May 2012. He is known to have looked after his original Guru, S.M.Subbaiah Naidu, when the latter fell into financial difficulties and then continued to look after his wife until her death.

Name M. S. Viswanathan
Real Name Manayangath Subramanian Viswanathan
DOB 24/06/1928
Place of Birth Palakkad, Kerala
Complexion Wheatish
Hair color White
Eye color Black
Nationality Indian
Religion Hindu
Birth Sign Leo
Occupation Music Director
Active from 1952
Debut movie Panam (Tamil)
Known For Aayirathil Oruvan,Anbe Vaa,Billa
Home Town Chennai
Parents Subramanian – Naanikutti
Spouse Janaki
Date of Marriage
Interesting Facts

He has composed for more than 1750 films

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