Shyam (composer)

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Birth name Samuel Joseph
Also known as Shyam
Origin Mylapore, Tamil Nadu, India
Genres Film score
Occupation(s) Music director
Instruments Harmonium, Violin
Years active 1963–1992

Samuel Joseph alias Shyam is a popular Malayalam music composer from Tamil Nadu, India. He has scored music for over 300 films including Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi languages. He also composed many Christian devotional songs. He is best known for the background scores for Malayalam thriller films of eighties and early nineties.

Apart from his music scores in movies, his theme musics are still considered as the finest example of scores ever composed in Malayalam cinema. His theme music of Oru CBI Diary Kurippu, 1 August, Moonamura, Irupatham Noottandu are popular even today. He is famous for creating fast number along with slow melodies. He won the Kerala State award for the best music composer for the years 1983 (Film: Aroodam) and 1984 (Film: Kanamarayathu).


Early influences[edit]

Shyam was born in Mylapore in Tamil Nadu state. His parents both were teachers and Shyam is a malayalee maternally,he hails from Palakkad. He learned music from his mother who used to play organ in church. He spent his childhood days in madras city. He was the only child to his parents and had spent many lonely times during his childhood and this was overcome by learning music. During these days he became interested in string instruments, especially the violin, which his father bought him. At age of 15 he became the disciple of Dhanraj master who taught him western music which inspired him a lot during his musical career. He did his college education at Madras Christian College where he was active in musical programs.

Music career[edit]

Shyam started as a violinist in drama troupes during his early career. He was introduced to musical industry by the great M. S. Viswanathan, fondly called as MSV. He first played violin for music director C. N. Pandurangan and was in the last row in the team later he made to lead row ending in solo. Thus he earned a good name as a violinist and had worked with many famous music personalities at that times such as V. Dakshinamoorthy, Baburaj, G. Devarajan, S. M. Subbaiah Naidu, T. K. Ramamoorthy etc. He also had a deep relation with Bollywood film composer Salil Chowdhury with whom he had worked in many Malayalam movies including the classic Chemmeen.

Film career[edit]

Shyam entered film industry as a music director for Tamil film Ethirigal Jakirathai in 1968. During this period he also worked as an assistant music director for Salil Choudhary, and he continued music direction for various hit Tamil films. It was Malayalam actress Sheela who introduced him in Malayalam for the film Manya Shree Vishwamitran directed by versatile Malayalam actor Madhu. The songs in the film became superhit, "Kettile Kottayathoru Mutha Pullachan" in the movie is an all time hit. Thus he became popular throughout Kerala. Since then he never had to look back and he started composing many films in Malayalam and other south Indian languages. His notable famous works are done in Malayalam films. He is among the few composers in Mollywood who had worked in both black & white as well as colour films. He is considered as one of the best all time music directors in Malayalam film industry. Famous Tamil music director Harris Jayaraj's father S.M Jayakumar worked as his assistant for many years.

His work for the Malayalam film Daisy was very well praised – all the songs in the film was all time chartbusters. His other notable works during his last active years are Nadodikattu, Nirakkoottu, New Delhi and Kanamarayathu. He is also famous for creating film theme music and his theme music are popular even today. The 2009 Malayalam movie Sagar Alias Jacky Reloaded extracted the theme music from his movie Irupatham Noottandu.


He is married to Violet Shyam, and they have settled down in Chennai. He has three children. Two sons and one daughter. Sons are working in America. Daughter is settled in Kerala.


  • He is one of the few composers in Indian film industry who have worked in both Colour and black & white films and appreciated in both periods.
  • He is one of the very few composers in kerala famous for Film Theme Musics


Kerala State Film Awards:

Other awards:

  • Devarajan Master Memorial Award
  • Mathruboomi Award for Best Music
  • Several Critics Award
  • Kamukara Award
  • Kairali swaralaya Award

Famous Malayalam songs[edit]

  • "Kettille Kottayathoru" – Manya Shree Vishwamitran
  • "Ormathan Vasatha" – Daisy
  • "Thenmazhayo" – Daisy
  • "Poomaname" – Nirakkoottu
  • "Vaishaka Sandhye" – Nadodikattu
  • "Oru Madhura Kinavin" – Kanamarayathu
  • "Shyamamegame Nee" – Adhipan
  • "Anchitalil Viriyum" – Uyarangalil
  • "Mainakam kadalil" – Thrishna
  • "Devadaaru poothu" – Engane Nee Marakkum
  • "Olangal Thalam Thallumbol" – Kadathu
  • "Ambalarapoo" – Irupatham Nootandu

Famous hits[edit]

Tamil films[edit]

  1. karunthel kannaiyiram – 1972 (along with Philips)
  2. appa amma – 1974
  3. unarchigaL – 1976
  4. manitharil iththanai nirangala – 1978
  5. alli durbar – 1978
  6. devadhai – 1979
  7. panchakalyaNi – 1979
  8. nee sirithaal naan sirippen – 1979
  9. naan nandri solven – 1979
  10. thevaigal – 1979
  11. matravai neril – 1980
  12. sridevi – 1980
  13. andhimayakkam – 1981
  14. vaa indha pakkam – 1981
  15. kuppathu ponnu – 1982
  16. nandri meendum varuga – 1982
  17. idhayam pesugirathu – 1982
  18. Kalvadiyium pookkal – 1983
  19. oru pullankuzhal aduppoodhugirathu – 1983
  20. nalam, nalamariya aaval – 1984
  21. kuzhandhai yesu – 1984
  22. kuyile kuyile – 1984
  23. sandhosha kanavugal – 1985
  24. vilaangu meen – 1985
  25. vilangu – 1987
  26. paasam oru vesham – 1987
  27. Jaathi Pookkal (also titled kallukkul therai)- unreleased
  28. salanam – 1982
  29. pudhiya payanam- unreleased
  30. kadal kuthiraikal – 2014 – filming started