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Viswanathan–Ramamoorthy were an Indian music composing duo composed of M. S. Viswanathan and T. K. Ramamoorthy. They worked together on over 100 films, from 1952's Panam to 1965's Aayirathil Oruvan. After their split, Ramamoorthy worked on 16 films between 1966 and 1986. He and Viswanathan reunited in 1995 for Engirundho Vandhan.

Early lives[edit]


Ramamoorthy, born into a well-known musical family in Trichy, was a capable violinist at an early age. His father (Krishnaswamy Pillai) and grandfather, Malaikottai Govindasamy Pillai, were noted violinists in Trichy.[1] As a child, Ramamoorthy performed several times with his father. During the early 1940s he worked for Saraswathi Stores (in which AVM Productions owner Avichi Meiyappa Chettiar was a partner), and played violin for AVM composer R. Sudharsanam in several films. Ramamoorthy became friendly with P. S. Diwakar, the pianist-composer of Malayalam cinema, and roomed with P. S. Diwakar. C. R. Subburaman hired him as a violinist for HMV. By the late 1940s, Ramamoorthy joined C. R. Subburaman's South Indian film-music ensemble and met fellow violinist T. G. Lingappa.


Viswanathan, who had acting and singing ambitions, had a few minor stage roles during the 1940s. The famous music composer in the 1950s T. R. Pappa who was a violinist for the doyen of the Tamil film music S. V. Venkatraman, met him and obtained him a job as an errand boy. Viswanathan developed an interest in composition, and joined S. M. Subbaiah Naidu.[1] He played harmonium for C. R. Subburaman and met Ramamoorthy and T. G. Lingappa, another leading violinist. In addition to the harmonium, Viswanathan began playing piano at an early age.

With Subburaman[edit]

With C. R. Subburaman, Viswanathan played the harmonium and Ramamoorthy the violin. Although both considered Subburaman their mentor, Viswanathan was also inspired by the music of S. V. Venkatraman and T. R. Pappa.

In 1952 Subburaman died unexpectedly, leaving the music for several films unfinished. Ramamoorthy and Viswanathan completed the background music for Devadas, Chandirani, Marumagal and Kaadhal. Viswanathan then suggested a south-Indian partnership to Ramamoorthy, similar to Shankar Jaikishan in the north. Initially reluctant, Ramamoorthy agreed.[1]

First film[edit]

Their first film was Panam, written by A. L. Seenivasan and directed by N. S. Krishnan (who supported their partnership).[1] Their musical training and personalities differed; the shy Ramamoorthy had a Carnatic musical background and Viswanathan, lacking Carnatic training, was a dynamic individual.

Panam was Sivaji Ganesan's second film and his first appearance with Padmini. Although the duo were initially supposed to be billed as Ramamoorthy-Viswanathan, N. S. Krishnan felt having Viswanathan's name first sounded better and told Ramamoorthy, "You are senior to him so you can be behind him, supporting him" and Ramamoorthy assented.[2]

Composer and singer C. S. Jayaraman commissioned Viswanathan Ramamoorthy for Ratha Kanneer's background music, writing the songs himself.


Success was slow in coming during a period which featured composers such as G. Ramanathan, S. V. Venkatraman, K. V. Mahadevan, S. Rajeswara Rao, S. Dakshinamurthi and Pendyala Nageswara Rao. In the wake of Panam's success, however, Viswanathan–Ramamoorthy wrote music for over 100 films from 1952 to 1965 and were the most successful composers from 1957 to 1965.

They had a flair for light, sweet melodies, and 1950s films such as Porter Kanthan, Paasavalai, Thenali Raman, Gulebakavali, Sugam Enge and Sorgavasal attracted attention. In 1956 Viswanathan–Ramamoorthy composed music for Santhosham, the Telugu adaptation of the Tamil film Velaikaari with N. T. Rama Rao and Anjali Devi, which was a musical hit. It was reprised in Hindi as Naya Aadmi with music by Madan Mohan, who wanted to keep some of the original songs in the Hindi version. The Hindi song "Laut gaya gam ka zamana", sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Hemanta Kumar Mukhopadhyay, copies the duo's Telugu song Teeyani Eenati Reyi (sung by P. Suseela and G. K. Venkatesh) and was a hit in the north.

During the late 1950s, Viswanathan–Ramamoorthy composed for musical hits such as Pudhaiyal, Nichaya Thaamboolam, Padhi Bhakti and Bhaaga Pirivinai. They enjoyed continued success into the early 1960s with directors T. R. Ramanna and A. Bhimsingh. After a 1961 disagreement with his composer, A. M. Rajah, C. V. Sridhar commissioned Viswanathan–Ramamoorthy for his films and Gemini Studios and AVM Productions later engaged the duo. At this time, they were assisted by R. Govardhanam, G. K. Venkatesh, Shankar–Ganesh and Henry Daniel and used Sathan for vocal and sound effects.

Other collaborations[edit]

Viswanathan and Ramamoorthy, particularly Viswanathan, are credited with moulding the careers of their regular singers T. M. Soundararajan, P. Susheela, P. B. Sreenivas, Seerkazhi Govindarajan and L. R. Eswari. A. L. Raghavan and S. Janaki sang less often for them.

K. J. Yesudas had his only collaboration with the duo in two songs from Kadhalikka Neramillai (1964): "Nenjathai Alli Alli" with L. R. Eswari and P. Suseela and "Enna Paarvai Undhan Paarvai" with P. Suseela. After the partnership dissolved, he sang with Viswanathan and Ramamoorthy separately.

During their early years, they worked with established male singers such as Thiruchi Loganathan, C. S. Jayaraman, S. C. Krishnan, Ghantasala and V. N. Sundharam. The female singers were P. A. Periyanayaki, M. L. Vasanthakumari, R. Balasaraswathi Devi, P. Leela, Jikki, T. V. Rathinam, T. S. Bagavathi, M. S. Rajeswari, K. Jamuna Rani, K. Rani, A. P. Komala and A. G. Rathnamala.

The singing actors N. S. Krishnan, T. A. Madhuram, Chittor V. Nagaiah, T. R. Mahalingam, K. R. Ramaswamy, J. P. Chandrababu, P. Bhanumathi and S. Varalakshmi also sang for the duo. G. K. Venkatesh, M. S. Viswanathan's friend and assistant, sang a few songs as well.

T. M. Soundararajan was Viswanathan's favourite singer and Jikki, followed by P. Susheela, were the duo's primary female singers. They were divided on A. M. Rajah; although Ramamoorthy favoured him, Viswanathan had a personality conflict dating back to Genova. Rajah sang only five Viswanathan–Ramamoorthy songs, at the height of his career during the 1950s. He voiced Gemini Ganesan, the actor for whom he was the primary voice, only in Padhi Bhakti.

P. Leela, Seerkazhi Govindarajan, Sarojini, K. Jamuna Rani, M. S. Rajeswari and A. L. Raghavan owe their 1950s and 1960s vocal success primarily to the duo, particularly to Viswanathan. Directors such as B. R. Panthulu, B. S. Ranga, Krishnan–Panju, A. Bhimsingh, P. Madhavan, C. V. Sridhar, T. R. Ramanna and A. C. Tirulokchandar worked with Viswanathan–Ramamoorthy frequently until 1965. K. Balachander never worked with the duo, preferring to work with Viswanathan alone even before the split.

Mellisai Mannargal[edit]

On 16 June 1963, Viswanathan and Ramamoorthy were given the title of Mellisai Mannargal (Tamil: மெல்லிசை மன்னர்கள், Kings of Light Music) by Sivaji Ganesan at a Madras Triplicane Cultural Academy ceremony sponsored by T. M. Ramachandran, director C. V. Sridhar and Chitralaya Gobu of the Hindu Group of Publications.[3]


Viswanathan and Ramamoorthy split up after the release of Aayirathil Oruvan on 9 July 1965. They composed for films separately, with the assistants remaining with Viswanathan. Although producer-directors T. R. Ramanna and A. Bhimsingh were saddened by the development, they worked with both men individually.

The split was the result of interpersonal issues. In 1964, C. V. Sridhar directed Kalai Kovil, starring S. V. Subbaiah, R. Muthuraman, Chandrakantha, Nagesh, V. Gopalakrishnan and V. S. Raghavan; Viswanathan and Ramamoorthy produced the film and composed its music. The film and its songs were unsuccessful, and a Kalki article was critical. Disagreement between the composers worsened by Server Sundaram, starring Nagesh, R. Muthuraman and K. R. Vijaya, which was released at the end of 1964. Viswanathan and Ramamoorthy were scheduled to shoot a scene suggested by Bollywood music director Naushad Ali to producer A. V. Meiyappa Chettiar; Ramamoorthy could not appear, and after completing Aayirathil Oruvan the duo announced their split.

In his solo career, Viswanathan composed music for over 700 films from 1965 to 2015. Ramamoorthy was less successful, composing for 19 films from 1966 to 1986. Viswanathan, the highest-paid music director from 1965 to 1985 but faced competition from next generation music composers like Ilayaraja in 1980s and AR Rahman in 1990s but[citation needed] continued to compose until 1998 in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu films. After a period he started composing devotional songs. He continued doing live orchestras from 1960s to 2015. He restarted composing songs for albums and films from 2000 until 2015.


Viswanathan and Ramamoorthy briefly reunited in 1995 for the unsuccessful Tamil film Engirundho Vandhan, starring Sathyaraj and Roja. It was the remake of the megahit Malayalam film Chithram. The film was a box office disaster and the songs went unnoticed. It was also their last film together. They received honorary doctorates from Sathyabama University in September 2006.[4]

Thirai Isai Chakravarthy[edit]

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa gave Viswanathan and Ramamoorthy the title of Thirai Isai Chakravarthy (Tamil: திரை இசை சக்ரவர்த்தி, Emperors of Cine Music) in August 2012.[5][6][7]


Ramamoorthy died in a Chennai hospital after a brief illness on 17 April 2013 at age 91.[8]

On 27 June 2015, Viswanathan was admitted to Fortis Malar Hospital in Chennai with respiratory difficulty[9] and died there at 4:15 a.m. on 14 July.[10]


Year Film Language Director Banner Note
1952 Panam Tamil N. S. Krishnan Madras Pictures
1953 Ammalakkalu Telugu D. Yoganand Krishna Pictures Along with C. R. Subbaraman
1953 Marumagal Tamil D. Yoganand Krishna Pictures Along with C. R. Subbaraman
1953 Devadasu Telugu Vedantam Raghavaiah Vinodha Pictures Background Score
1953 Devadas Tamil Vedantam Raghavaiah Vinodha Pictures Background Score
1954 Sorgavasal Tamil A. Kasilingam Parimalam Pictures
1954 Praja Rajyam Telugu A. Kasilingam Parimalam Pictures
1954 Sugam Enge Tamil K. Ramnoth Modern Theatres
1954 Maa Gopi Telugu B. S. Ranga Vikram Productions
1954 Vaira Maalai Tamil N. Jagannath Vaidhya Films
1954 Ratha Kanneer Tamil Krishnan–Panju National Pictures Background Score
1955 Kaveri Tamil D. Yoganand Krishna Pictures Co-music director G. Ramanathan
1955 Jaya Gopi Tamil B. S. Ranga Vikram Productions
1955 Porter Kandan Tamil K. Vembu Narasu Studios
1955 Vijaya Gauri Telugu D. Yoganand Krishna Pictures Co-music director G. Ramanathan
1955 Gulebakavali Tamil T. R. Ramanna R. R. Pictures
1955 Needhipathi Tamil A. S. A. Sami Vijaya Films
1955 Santhosham Telugu C. P. Dixit Jupiter Pictures
1956 Paasavalai Tamil A. S. Nagarajan Modern Theatres
1956 Tenali Ramakrishna Telugu B. S. Ranga Vikram Productions
1956 Tenali Raman Tamil B. S. Ranga Vikram Productions
1957 Bhaktha Markandeya Tamil B. S. Ranga Vikram Productions
1957 Bhaktha Markandeya Telugu B. S. Ranga Vikram Productions
1957 Bhaktha Markandeya Kannada B. S. Ranga Vikram Productions
1957 Mahadhevi Tamil Sundar Rao Nadkarni Sri Ganesh Movietone
1957 Pathini Deivam Tamil Ch. Narayana Murthy VRV Productions
1957 Pudhaiyal Tamil Krishnan–Panju Kamal Brothers
1957 Kudumba Gouravam Tamil B. S. Ranga Vikram Productions
1957 Kutumba Gowravam Telugu B. S. Ranga Vikram Productions
1958 Maalaiyitta Mangai Tamil G. R. Nathan Kannadasan Films
1958 Mahadhevi Telugu Sundar Rao Nadkarni Sri Ganesh Movietone
1958 Padhi Bhakti Tamil A. Bhim Singh Buddha Pictures
1958 Padhi Bhakti Telugu A. Bhim Singh Buddha Pictures co-music director T. Chalapathi Rao
1958 Petra Maganai Vitra Annai Tamil T. R. Sundaram Modern Theatres
1958 Lilly Malayalam F. Nagoor HT Pictures
1959 Amudhavalli Tamil A. K. Sekhar Jupiter Pictures
1959 Bhaaga Pirivinai Tamil A. Bhim Singh Saravana Films
1959 Raja Malaiya Simman Tamil B. S. Ranga Vikram Productions
1959 Raja Malaya Simha Telugu B. S. Ranga Vikram Productions
1959 Sivagangai Seemai Tamil K. Shankar Kannadasan Films
1959 Thalai Koduthaan Thambi Tamil T. R. Sundaram Modern Theatres
1959 Thanga Padhumai Tamil A. S. A. Samy Jupiter Pictures
1960 Aalukkoru Veedu Tamil M. Krishnan Subash Movies
1960 Kavalai Illaadha Manithan Tamil K. Shankar Kannadasan Productions
1960 Mannadhi Mannan Tamil M. Natesan Natesh Art Pictures
1960 Ondrupattal Undu Vazhvu Tamil T. R. Ramanna Ranga Pictures
1960 Rathinapuri Ilavarasi Tamil T. R. Ramanna Sri Vinayaga Pictures
1961 Bhagyalakshmi Tamil K. V. Sreenivasan Kanaka Films
1961 Manapanthal Tamil T. R. Ramanna RR Pictures
1961 Palum Pazhamum Tamil A. Bhim Singh Saravana Films
1961 Pasamalar Tamil A. Bhim Singh Rajamani Films
1961 Intiki Deepam Illale Telugu T. R. Ramanna RR Pictures
1961 Pava Mannippu Tamil A. Bhim Singh Buddha Pictures
1961 Vijayanagarada Veeraputra Kannada R. Nagendra Rao RNR Pictures
1962 Alayamani Tamil K. Shankar PSV Pictures
1962 Bale Pandiya Tamil B. R. Panthulu Padmini Pictures
1962 Bandha Pasam Tamil A. Bhim Singh Santhi Films
1962 Kaathiruntha Kangal Tamil T. Prakash Rao Vasumathi Pictures
1962 Aasha Jeevulu Telugu B. S. Ranga Vikram Productions
1962 Thendral Veesum Tamil B. S. Ranga Vikram Productions
1962 Nenjil Or Aalayam Tamil C. V. Sridhar Chithralaya
1962 Nichaya Thaamboolam Tamil B. S. Ranga Vikram Productions
1962 Pelli Thambulam Telugu B. S. Ranga Vikram Productions
1962 Paadha Kannikkai Tamil K. Shankar Saravana Films
1962 Padithaal Mattum Podhuma Tamil A. Bhim Singh Ranganathan Pictures
1962 Paarthaal Pasi Theerum Tamil A. Bhim Singh AVM Productions
1962 Paasam Tamil T. R. Ramanna RR Pictures
1962 Policekaran Magal Tamil C. V. Sridhar Chithrakala Pictures
1962 Senthamarai Tamil A. Bhim Singh ALS Productions
1962 Sumaithaangi Tamil C. V. Sridhar Visalakshi Productions
1962 Veerathirumagan Tamil A. C. Tirulokchandar Murugan Brothers
1963 Anandha Jodhi Tamil V. N. Reddy & A. S. A. Samy PSV Pictures
1963 Idhayathil Nee Tamil Mukta V. Srinivasan Muktha Films
1963 Idhu Sathiyam Tamil K. Shankar Saravana Films
1963 Karpagam Tamil K. S. Gopalakrishnan Amarjothi Movies
1963 Mani Osai Tamil P. Madhavan ALS Productions
1963 Nenjam Marappathillai Tamil C. V. Sridhar Manohar Pictures
1963 Paar Magale Paar Tamil A. Bhim Singh Kasthuri Films
1963 Panathottam Tamil K. Shankar Saravana Films
1963 Periya Idathu Penn Tamil T. R. Ramanna RR Pictures
1963 Manchi Chedu Telugu T. R. Ramanna RR Pictures
1964 Andavan Kattalai Tamil K. Shankar PSV Pictures
1964 Dheiva Thaai Tamil P. Madhavan Sathya Movies
1964 En Kadamai Tamil M. Natesan Natesh Art Pictures
1964 Kai Koduttha Dheivam Tamil K. S. Gopalakrishnan Sri Ponni Productions
1964 Kalai Kovil Tamil C. V. Sridhar Bhagyalakshmi Pictures
1964 Karnan Tamil B. R. Panthulu Padmini Pictures
1964 Karuppu Panam Tamil G. R. Nathan Visalakshi Films
1964 Kaadhalikka Neramillai Tamil C. V. Sridhar Chithralaya
1964 Pachai Vilakku Tamil A. Bhim Singh Vel Pictures
1964 Padagotti Tamil T. Prakash Rao Saravana Films
1964 Panakkara Kudumbam Tamil T. R. Ramanna RR Pictures
1964 Puthiya Paravai Tamil Dada Mirasi Sivaji Productions
1964 Server Sundaram Tamil Krishnan–Panju AVM Productions
1964 Vazhkai Vazhvatharke Tamil Krishnan–Panju Kamal Brothers
1965 Panchavarna Kili Tamil K. Shankar Saravana Films
1965 Enga Veettu Pillai Tamil Chanakya Vijaya Productions
1965 Hello Mister Zamindar Tamil K. J. Mahadevan Sudharsanam Pictures
1965 Panam Padaithavan Tamil T. R. Ramanna RR Pictures
1965 Pazhani Tamil A. Bhim Singh Bharatha Matha Pictures
1965 Poojaikku Vandha Malar Tamil Mukta V. Srinivasan Muktha Films
1965 Santhi Tamil A. Bhim Singh ALS Productions
1965 Vaazhkai Padagu Tamil S. S. Vasan Gemini Studios
1965 Vennira Aadai Tamil C. V. Sridhar Chithralaya
1965 Maganey Kel Tamil Mukta V. Srinivasan Naaval Films
1965 Aayirathil Oruvan Tamil B. R. Panthulu Padmini Pictures
1995 Engirundho Vandhan Tamil Santhana Bharathi VSR Pictures


  1. ^ a b c d Ramachandran, T. M. (17 August 1963). "Kings of Light Melody". Sport and Pastime. Vol. 17. p. 43.
  2. ^ Rangarajan, Malathi (8 November 2012). "Ninety, and bowing away!". The Hindu. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Why did Viswanathan and Ramamurthy break-up their". Retrieved 27 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Tamil Nadu / Chennai News : Honorary doctorates for seven eminent personalities". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 4 September 2006. Archived from the original on 3 December 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  5. ^ "Amma confers title of Thiraiyisai Chakravarthy on legendary MSV". ChennaiOnline. 30 August 2012. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  6. ^ News, Express (30 August 2012). "CM confers Thirai Isai Chakravarthy on MSV". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 12 June 2013. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  7. ^ "After Padma snub, Jaya says one day Centre will listen". The Indian Express. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  8. ^ TK Ramamurthy, noted music composer, passes away
  9. ^ "M S Viswanathan Death". Telangana News Paper.
  10. ^ "King of Film Music MS Viswanathan Passes Away". The New Indian Express.

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