CHENNAI: Ilaiyaraaja may have been among the last of the ‘big guns’ to pay respects to M S Viswanathan, but he certainly stayed the longest. Arriving at 5.25 pm, the composer who many consider to have been the one closest to MSV, stayed for over an hour — leaving the house in Santhome, only at 6.35 pm. The duo had worked together in at least five films including the hit Melle Thiranththu Kadavu.
He was composed when he walked in but broke down at the sight of the deceased melody-king’s body placing his hands over the freezer-casket that encased MSV’s remains.
“I have not seen Raja sir this upset even when he paid his respects to KB (K Balachander) and Balu Mahendra. He just stared at MSV’s body for about 25 minutes and only after he finished his personal mourning did he get up and speak with the family,” said one of the family members.
Ilaiyaraaja and his children Bhavatharini and Karthik Raja stayed there together and spoke to every one present before leaving. The composer was in an ashram in Tiruvannamalai when the news reached him and he rushed back to pay his respects.
“The way (MSV’s) music brought out raw human emotion was a lesson for me on how to make music and in that sense, he is my mentor,” said an emotional Ilaiyaraaja, “He IS my mentor, there is no one else.”
Ilaiyaraaja and Vadivelu spoke about how ‘MSV’s music was instrumental in the growth of the Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu — and in a small way, the popularity that MGR largely enjoyed.
“Songs that he composed like Acham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada are among the reasons Dravidian parties were able to grow from the grassroots in Tamil Nadu. Politics aside, the words penned by Kannadasan and the music set by MSV were so popular that it reached the masses greatly,” said Ilaiyaraaja.
Vadivelu, who admitted that he had grown up listening to MSV’s songs because he was a huge MGR fan said, “I have sung most of his songs in my movies. Not just because I am an MGR fan but also because I respect and enjoy his music. He was the only person who managed to cater to the needs of both MGR and Sivaji without causing an ego conflict. He was the bridge that took both MGR and Sivaji to the stations that they were meant to reach. For that he is amazing,” he said.