The pair went on to compose music for over 700 films, churning out mellifluous hits after hits for over two decades. Playback singer P Suseela, who was a favorite of the duo for the female voice in their songs, told Express that Ramamurthy’s knowledge of classical music knew no bounds.
“When we enter the recording theatre, MSV would play the tune on the harmonium. Ramamurthy anna would make subtle changes when we repeat the tune. It was such joy to see the coordination,” she recalled.
Perhaps the classical strain in the duo’s music was the effect of Ramamurthy’s presence. But the pair transformed Tamil music at a very fundamental level, moving away from the drama-pitched high decibel compositions that marked the era to low-tone melody.
The contrast from the past came forth in honeyed compositions such as “Pon Enben Siru Poo Enben” from ‘Policekaran Magal’, a deeply carnatic-based song where the unbelievably low-pitched singing of P B Sreenivas, who ironically died only a few days ago, captivated listeners.
In time, the pair came to be known as “Melisai Mannargal,” or Emperors of Light Music.
In fact, in a recent felicitation for the great music composers, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa fondly remembered the violin renditions of Ramamurthy.
It is also said Ramamurthy was greatly influenced by the Hindi music composer Naushad.
Some of the duo’s compositions had inspirations from Naushad’s songs, like “Kadal Siragai Katrinil Viritthu” from ‘Paalum Pazhamum’, which took the listener back to “Pyar Kiya to Darna Kya” from Mughal-e-Azam.
After the duo split in 1964, Ramamurthy’s career graph slumped whereas MSV’s continued to reach heights.
He composed music by himself for about 20 movies, with some memorable tunes in films such as ‘Naan’ and ‘Maraka Mudiyuma’. The two buried the hatchet years later, but the magic touch of the 1960s was missing.
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa expressed her grief over the death of veteran music composer TK Ramamoorthy on Wednesday, and offered her condolences to his family. Recalling Ramamoorthy’s contribution to the world of Tamil cinema, she heaped praise on him.
“An excellent violinist, Ramamoorthy collaborated famously with MS Viswanathan to score music for over 700 films in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. He was an uncrowned king of these films. He also scored music on his own.
“His song ‘Ammano Samiyo’ from the movie ‘Naan’ was a massive hit that captured the hearts of people. Acting in it was an unforgettable experience for me,” said Jayalalithaa in a statement.
“His songs are still green in the minds of music lovers. His contribution to the Tamil film industry is immeasurable. His death is not a loss just to the Tamil film industry and the music fraternity, but to me as well,” she added.