We record with regret the demise of veteran composer Devarajan Master at Chennai late last night. He was 79.
Govindan Devarajan (born 27.9.27) is easily the most prolific composer of Malayalam Cinema. He was born in a family where music was revered and nurtured. His father Paravur N. Kochu Govindan Aasan was a formally trained singer and accomplished Mridangam player, and was also Devarajan’s Guru in classical music. Devarajan had his arangetram as a vocalist in 1948, and he started singing in stage concerts and temple programmes. He gradually moved to composing songs for stage plays and non-film albums of O.N.V.Kurup’s lyrical outpourings. He made his debut in mfm in the film Kaalam Marunnu
in 1955 and there was no looking back ever since.
The 70s, as a whole, was a decade of refreshing renaissance for tfm- it was an exciting time when an amazing array of MDs and singers could get wonderful openings to prove their mettle. And Devarajan Master was amongst those musicians who wove some vibrant hues into the varied tapestry that formed tfm of the 70s.
Devarajan ventured into tfm in 1969, first with the dubbed Kumara Sambhavam
, followed it up with with Kaaval Deivam
, and then made a telling statement with his haunting score for Thulabaram
, all in the same year. However, it was the unprecedented popularity of the Annai Velankanni
(1971) album that saw Devarajan arrive with a bang in this side of the Western Ghats. The awe-inspiring religious fervor of ‘Neelakkadalin orathil’
, the marvelous melange of piety and romance that ‘Vaanamenum veedhiyile’
manages to summon, the soulful plea to the Virgin Mother in ‘Karunai mazhaye Mary Madha’
, the catchy choral beat of the folksy ‘Thaneer kulatharuge’
, the classical euphony of the short ‘Kadal alai thalaattum Velankanni’
, and the final, irredeemable loss that ‘Deva maindan pogindraan’
recounts - each one of them was a winner.
Over the years, other Tamil films that had music scored by Devarajan were:Kasturi Thilakam
- 1970, Vijaya
- 1974, Swami Iyappan
- both 1975, Alavudeenum Arputha Vilakkum
- 1979, Viliyanoor Madha
- 1983 and the unreleased Vaazhvu Malarndhadhu
Though the number of his films in Tamil would perhaps add up to only a trifling dozen, Devarajan’s works therein bespeak his creative skills. Right from the serene vistas of a rural love that finds endearing portrayal in the voices of Dharapuram Sundararajan & PS in ‘Ayyanaru neranja vaazhvu kodukkanum’
(Kaaval Deivam) up to the swagger of a youthful urban romance that Jayachandran jauntily proclaims in ‘Ethanai muththukkal aval sindhiya punnagaiyil’
(Vaazhvu Malarndhadhu), Devarajan has stamped his unmistakable class in each album, each song.
May his soul rest in peace.
Devarajan's songs featured in SOTD:
from swami iyappan:
'gnaayiRu oli mazhaiyil'
'kannirasi en rasi'
from kumara vijayam:
from annai vELankanni:
Sathya Kabali's write up on Paruvakaalam, and the two versions of the song 'veLLi rathangaL'
from the movie: