Malaysia Vasudevan

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Malaysia Vasudevan
Malaysia Vasudevan.jpg
Born(1944-06-15)15 June 1944
Died20 February 2011(2011-02-20) (aged 66)
Other namesSathu Arumugam Nair
Occupation(s)Director,Playback singer, actor
Years active1962–2011
Spouse(s)Usha (m.1976-2011)
(Until his death)
ChildrenYugendran, Prashanthini, Pavithra

Vasudevan (15 June 1944 – 20 February 2011),[1] known as Malaysia Vasudevan, was a Malaysian-Indian playback singer and actor in Tamil cinema.

Early life[edit]

Malaysia Vasudevan's parents were from Palakkad. Chattu Nair of Ottappalam and Ammalu of Polpulli, along with their families migrated to British Malaya in search of a livelihood. After a few years, Chattu Nair married Ammalu in an arranged marriage. Vasudevan was born on 15 June 1944 as their eighth and youngest child. Even though he was a Malayali, as was the case with the majority of contemporary South Indian migrants to Malaya then, his surroundings in Malaysia was dominated by the Tamil language and culture. As such, Tamil became his language of choice, at school and at home.

Chattu Nair was musically inclined and all his children grew up with a natural ability to sing and appreciate music. Malaysia Vasudevan had once said that all his family members, except his mother Ammalu, were singers. Chattu Nair used to entertain the estate labourers by singing. He first started learning music from his father and later on, his brother taught him. Vasudevan started singing on stage when he was eight. Vasudevan was also interested in acting.

When Vasudevan grew up, he attached himself to Tamil drama troupes in Malaysia as an actor and singer. The producers of one of his plays Ratha Paei, wanted to make it into a film. Vasudevan came with the group to Chennai and acted in the film Raththa Paei. He even sang a song for the film under the baton of G. K. Venkatesh, for whom Ilaiyaraaja was working as the assistant.

Professional career[edit]

Playback singer[edit]

Malaysia Vasudevan's first major song was in the film Delhi to Madras, that starred Jaishankar and Srividya. It was a comedy song "Paalu Vikkira Padma Un Paalu Romba Suthhama?", for the music director V. Kumar.[2] This chance was made possible by his friendship with the film's producer Pollachi Rathnam. After that, he joined the Pavalar Brothers troupe which was run by Ilaiyaraaja and his brothers.

During a stage performance, music director M. S. Viswanathan heard Vasudevan and gave him a small piece of a song in Bharatha Vilas (he sang for the Punjabi in "Indhiya Naadu En Veedu") and then a song in Thalai Prasavam. His first big break came when Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan made him sing "Kaalam Seyyum Vilaiyattu" in Kumasthavin Magal. Vasudevan was rechristened Malaysia Vasudevan by A. P. Nagarajan in this film.

Later, when his good friend Ilaiyaraaja debuted in the Tamil film industry with Annakili, he was asked to sing in the film, and after "Aattukutti Muttai Ittu" from 16 Vayathinile happened, Malaysia Vasudevan never looked back.[2] Ilaiyaraaja backed him until he became a star singer.

Malaysia Vasudevan has sung close to 8,000 songs in his career spanning three decades, most for Ilaiyaraaja. Illayaraja made Malaysia Vasudevan sing songs of all types and genres. Malaysia Vasudevan performed each song with utmost sincerity and surprised everyone with the range he had.

Soft romantic songs like "Indha Minminikku" (Sigappu Rojakkal), "Vaan Megangalay" (Pudhiya Varpugal), "Malargale Nadha Swarangal" (Kizhake Pogum Rayil), "Malargalilay Aaraadhanai" (Karumbu Vil), "Kodai Kaala Kaatray" (Panneer Pushpangal), "Poove Ilaya Poove" (Kozhi Koovuthu), "Thangachangili Minnum Painkili" (Thooral Ninnu Pochchu), etc. must be some of the timeless favourites of Tamil film music lovers.

Even under the baton of M. S. Viswanathan, Malaysia Vasudevan sang many illustrious songs. "Ezhudhugiral Oru Pudhukkavithai" (Saranaalayam), "Enniyirundhadhu Eadera" (Andha 7 Naatkal) and the super-hits from Billa are just a few examples.

Sensuous songs like "Kanna Thorakkanum Saami", or "Nila Kaayudhu" and emotional songs like "Oru Thanga Rathathhil" (Dharma Yuddham), "Allithhandha Bhoomi Annai Allava" (Nandu), "Adi Aadu Poongodiye" (Kali), "Vaa Vaa Vasanthamey" (Puthu Kavithai), "Pattuvanna Rosavam" (Kannipparuvathile) and "Ponmaana Thedi Naanum Poovodu" (Enga Oor Rasathi) all came easily to Vasudevan and succeeded in showing some other brilliant facets of the wonderful singer. His largely folksy tunes sung for Shankar–Ganesh are also of inimitable class. In the nineties, he got to sing a few, but most of them sensuous hits, for A. R. Rahman, including "Then Kizhakku" (Kizhakku Cheemayile) and "Monalisa Monalisa" (Mr. Romeo). The famous song "Poo Pookum Osai" (Minsara Kanavu) featured Vasudevan's voice in the chorus part.

He was the king of singing folk songs and songs with a village background, he was the voice behind several of Rajni Kanth's hit songs and he, Malayasia Vasudevan, sang a good number of hit duets with S Janaki. Ilaiyaraaja chose this singing pair whenever he had a folk song or a song which needed some special singing and they successfully made all his works big hits.

Some of the best songs of Malaysia Vasudevan happened at the time when he was considered the voices of Sivaji Ganesan and Rajinikanth; songs like "Mudhal Mariyathai", "Pothuvaga En Manasu Thangam" (Murattukalai) and "Aasai Nooru Vagai" (Adutha Varisu) to name a few.

Malaysia Vasudevan was like T. M. Soundararajan, who was content with the popularity achieved only in Tamil. He was of the notion that if he sang in other languages, he should have known well the nuances of other languages.

Vasudevan worked with many music directors such as M. S. Viswanathan, Ilaiyaraaja, Shankar–Ganesh, Deva, A. R. Rahman and Vidyasagar. After T. M. Soundararajan, he was called as the ghost voice for Sivaji Ganesan. His first song was for the film Delhi to Madras. He has sung over 8,000 songs in Tamil and over 4,000 songs in various other South Indian languages. He has also sung a few songs in Hindi.

Malaysia Vasudevan has sung many songs for Rajinikanth. Some of his notable songs for Rajinikanth were "Singamondru Purapattadhe" (Arunachalam), "Yejaman Kaladi Manneduthu" (Yejaman), "Agaya Gangai", "Oru Thanga Rathathil" (Dharma Yuddham) "Solli adippaenadi" (Padikkathavan), all songs in Adhisayap piravi and many others.

He has also lent his voice for a few albums, the most notable among them is Disco Disco (1987), a collaboration with composer Dilip (A. R. Rahman) and playback singer K. S. Chithra. The album is noted for being the first album production of A. R. Rahman.[3] Though it didn't become much popular, Disco Disco Vol 2 was also released later.

Music Direction[edit]

Malaysia Vasudevan composed music for a few movies like "Uravugal" "Itho Varugiren" "Samanthi Poo" (1980), "Pakku Vethilai" (1981) "Ayiram Kaigal" "Aaraavathu Kurukku Theru" (1984), "Kolusu (1985), "Rajaavin Paarvai"(1988), etc.


He has directed a film called Nee Sirithal Deepavali (1991).

Acting career[edit]

Malaysia Vasudevan has also acted in nearly 85 films. Veteran Tamil director A. P. Nagarajan christened him "Malaysia Vasudevan". Some of his notable films include Oorkavalan (with Rajinikanth), Mudhal Vasantham (with Sathyaraj), Oomai Vizhigal (with Vijayakanth), Kathanayagan (with Pandiyarajan), Oru Kaidhiyin Diary (with Kamal Haasan), Jallikattu, Thiruda Thiruda, Amaidhi Padai, Poove Unakkaga, Badri,Punnagai Desam and Kokki. Besides acting in films, he has acted in a good number of tele-serials.


Malaysia Vasudevan wrote a book of poems called "Ennam Thondriyathu Ezhutha Thoondiyathu" in the year 2010.

Last projects[edit]

Vasudevan's last song was "Happy" from the film Bale Pandiya (2010), in the music of Devan Ekambaram. His last film as an actor Ithanai Naalaai Engiruthaai is yet to be released. The last song he wrote was "Devathaiye" for the film Balam (2009), in the music of his son Yugendran Vasudevan Nair.

Personal life[edit]

Malaysia Vasudevan married Annaporani, also known as Usha Vasudevan on 26 January 1976. Malaysia Vasudevan has three children Yugendran, Prashanthini and Pavithra. His son Yugendran has acted and sang in some films in Tamil and other languages. Malaysia Vasudevan's daughter Prashanthini too is a playback singer. She has sung songs like "Mundhinam" in the movie Vaaranam Aayiram and many more. Another Pavithra is married and resides in Malaysia. Malaysia Vasudevan has five grandchildren. Visashan Naarayan, Kishan Naarayan and Darshan Naarayan born to Yugendran, Saii Naarayan born to Pavithra and Rithvik son of Prashanthini.


He has been awarded Kalaimamani by the Tamil Nadu Government. He is also a 2-time winner of the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Male Playback.


A chronic diabetic and hypertension patient, Malaysia Vasudevan had a stroke in 2003, which slowed his mobility. On 10 February 2011, he was admitted for high fever. He developed gangrene in his big toe. He died from the gangrene on 20 February 2011 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.[4][5][6]

Some of the notable songs[edit]

  • "Alli Thandha Bhoomi" (Nandu)
  • "Aagayam Bhoomi Rendum" (Saamandhippoo)
  • "Shankara Shiva" (Rajarishi)
  • "Pothuvaga En Manasu" (Murattukkalai)
  • "Kodai Kaala Kaatre" (Panneer Pushpangal)
  • "Attukkutti muttayittu" (16 Vayathinile)
  • "Sevvnthi poomudicha" (16 Vayathinile)
  • "Monalisa Monalisa" (Mr. Romeo)
  • "Aasai Nooruvagai" (Adutha Varisu)
  • "Oru Kootukiliyaga" (Padikkadavan (1985 film))
  • "Unna Partha Neram", "Singari Pyari","Annakiliye","Thaa Nanthana Gummi kotti", "Paatukku Paattu Edukkava"(Athisaya Piravi)
  • "Kovil mani oosai thannai" (Kizakke Pogum Rail)
  • "Ponmaana Thedi Naanum Poovodu" (Enga Oor Raachathi)
  • "Suham Suhame Eyei Thoda Thoda Thane" (Naan Potta Savaal)
  • "Aaagaya gangai, Oru thanga radathil" (Dharma Yuddam)
  • "Then Kizhakku" (Kizhakku Cheemayile)
  • "Kaadu potta Kaadu" (Karuththamma)
  • "Poo Pookkum Oosai" (Minsara Kanavu)
  • "Vetthalaiya Pottendi" (Billa (1980 film))
  • "Thangangale Thambigale" (Thillu Mullu)
  • "Devathai Pol oru Pen Ingu Vandathu" along with Mano (singer) (Gopura Vasalile)
  • "Aathu mettula oru paattu kekkuthu" (Giramaththu athiyayam)
  • "Aazhakkadali thediya muthu" (Sattam En Kaiyil)
  • "Aanatha then katru thalttuthe" (Manippoor Mamiyar)
  • "Kaathal vaibohame kaanum nannalile" (Suvar illatha sithirangal)
  • "Koodalooru gundumalli, kootathula kuninji" (Kumbakkarai Thangaiya)
  • "Poove ilaya poove varamtharum" (Kozhi Koovuthu)
  • "Vetti veru vaasham" (Mudhal Mariyathai)
  • "Mapillaikku Maaman Manasu" (Netrikkann)
  • "Kaadhal Vandhuduchu aasaiyil odi vandaen" (Kalyanaraman)
  • "Katti vechuko intha anbu manasa" (En Jeevan Paaduthu)
  • "Vaa vaa vasanthame sugam tharum" (Pudhu Kavidhai)
  • "Alli thatha boomi annai allava" (Nandu)
  • "Ananda then sinthum pooncholayil" (Mann Vasanai)
  • "Aasai Nooru Vagai, Vazhvil Nooru Suvai" (Adutha Vaarisu)
  • "Eh Rasathi" (En Uyir Thozhan)
  • "Malaiyoram Mayile" (Oruvar Vaazhum Aalayam)
  • "Enna Sugaama" "Oru ooril oru Maharani" (Garjanai)
  • "Pulli Vacha Oru Ponnatha", "Poove Poove Ponnama", "Patukku Jodiya","Yaar Paadum Paadal" (Paattukku Naan Adimai)
  • "Ponmaana Thedi" (Enga Ooru Rasathi)
  • "Kathal vaibhogame" (Suvarilla Chithiram)
  • "Naan Appodhu" (Pagal Nilavu)
  • "Thanga Changili" (Thooral Ninnu Pochchu)
  • "Thaalaatta Naan" (Thooral Ninnu pochu)
  • "Mamavukku Kuduma Kuduma" (Punnagai Mannan)
  • "Per vechaalum" (Micheal Madhana Kamarajan)
  • "Singam Ondru Purappathade" (Arunachalam)
  • "Yen Thaayin Meedhu Aanai" (Mr. Bharath)
  • "Enna Ma kannu" along with S.P.Balasubramaniam (Mr. Bharath)
  • "Maman Ponukku" along with S.P.Balasubramaniam (Chinna Thambi Periya Thambi)
  • "Yejaman Kaaladi Maneduthu, Netthiyila Pottu Vechom" (Yejaman)
  • "Ooru Vittu Ooru Vandhu" along with Gangai Amaran (Karagattakaran)
  • "Mariamma Mariamma" (Karagattakaran)
  • "Paattu Inge " (Poovizhi Vasalile)



This is a partial list of some of the films Malaysia Vasudevan has acted in.[7]

Year Title Role Language Notes
1977 Avar Enakke Sontham Tamil
1978 Nenjil Aadum Poo Ondru Tamil
1979 Velli Ratham Tamil
1980 Samanthi Poo Tamil
1981 Pakkuvethilai Tamil
1982 Idho Varukiren Idho Varukiren Tamil
1982 Nizhal Suduvathillai Tamil
1983 Ethanai Konam Ethanai Parvai Tamil
1984 Ayiram Kaigal Tamil
1985 Oru Kaidhiyin Diary Suryaprakasam (as the politician) Tamil
1985 Kolusu Tamil
1986 Muthal Vasantham Tamil
1986 Unnidathil Naan Tamil
1986 Palaivana Rojakkal Tamil
1986 Oomai Vizhigal Sattanathan MLA Tamil
1987 Kadamai Kanniyam Kattupaadu Tamil
1987 Per Sollum Pillai Tamil
1987 Ithanai Nalai Engirunthai Tamil
1987 Oorkavalan Tamil
1987 Parisam Pottachu Tamil
1987 Theertha Karayinile Tamil
1987 Uzhavan Magan Tamil
1987 Sirai Paravai Tamil
1987 Jallikattu Numerology Tamil
1988 Therkathi Kallan Tamil
1988 Oorai Therinjukitten Yercaud subramanian Tamil
1988 Katha Nayagan Tamil
1988 Raasave Unnai Nambi Vasu Tamil
1988 Poonthotta Kaavalkaaran Tamil
1988 Thambi Thanga Kambi Tamil
1989 Thendral Sudum Tamil
1989 Annakili Sonna Kathai Tamil
1989 Pongi Varum Kaveri Tamil
1989 Dharma Devan Tamil
1990 Parampara Tamil Kaliyappa Chettiyar Malayalam
1990 Engal Swamy Ayyappan Tamil
1990 Neesirithal Deepavali Tamil
1992 Singaaravelan Sumathi's father Tamil
1993 Thiruda Thiruda Inspector Tamil
1993 Paramparyam Tamil
1993 Karuppu Vellai Tamil
1994 Amaidhi Padai Tamil
1994 Jallikattu Kaalai Tamil
1994 Pandiyanin Rajyathil Tamil
1996 Poove Unakkaga Vasudevan Tamil
1996 Summa Irunga Machan Tamil
1996 Mappillai Manasu Poopola Tamil
1996 Tamizh Selvan Chief minister Dakshanamoorthy Tamil
1996 Vasuki Tamil
1996 Gopala Gopala Tamil
1997 Pongalo Pongal Tamil
1997 Kathirunda Kadhal Tamil
1998 Ninaithen Vandhai Tamil
1998 Dhinamdhorum Tamil
1999 Pooparika Varugirom Tamil
2000 Kandukondain Kandukondain Tamil
2000 Doubles Tamil
2001 Badri Bhumika's Father Tamil
2002 Punnagai Desam Tamil
2003 Kaiyodu Kai Tamil
2003 Nilavil Kalangamillai Tamil
2006 Kokki Tamil
2007 Adavadi Tamil
2007 Ninaithu Ninaithu Parthen Tamil
2007 Piragu Tamil
2013 Thirumathi Thamizh Tamil
TV Serials
  • 2000 Micro Thodargal- Thedathe Tholainthu povai
  • 2006-2007 Lakshmi as Puniyakodi
  • Saamanthi poo
  • Sonnathu nee thaana (2006) (suresh)


  1. ^ "Veteran singer M. Vasudevan Nair dies at 67". Archived from the original on 3 October 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  2. ^ a b "புதிய குரல்கள்; இளம் குருத்துகள்". Kalki. 18 November 1979. pp. 6–9. Retrieved 14 March 2023.
  3. ^ "Rahman pays tribute to Malaysia Vasudevan". Thaindian. 21 February 2011. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  4. ^ "Malaysia Vasudevan passes away". The Hindu. 20 February 2011. Archived from the original on 23 February 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
  5. ^ "'malaysia' Vasudevan Passed Away - Malaysia Vasudevan - - Tamil Movie News". 21 February 2011. Archived from the original on 24 February 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  6. ^ "Malaysia Vasudevan passed away - Tamil Movie News". IndiaGlitz. Archived from the original on 9 March 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  7. ^ "Malaysia Vasudevan Filmography". Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2012.

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