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Music composer Dakshinamoorthy passes away at 94
In a career that spanned 50 years, Dakshinamoorthy composed songs for more than 125 movies.
CHENNAI:V Dakshinamoorthy, the legendary music composer who gifted more than 850 songs in Malayalam, Hindi and Tamil, died at his house in Mylapore on Friday. He was 94 years old.
Family sources said Dakshinamoorthy didn't have any ailment, but faced some age-related difficulties. "He died around 6.30pm," a relative said.
One of the most popular composers in Malayalam since the 1960s, Dakshinamoorthy made his debut in Malayalam cinema with Jeevitha Nouka in 1951. In a career that spanned 50 years, he composed songs for more than 125 movies.
Dakshinamoorthy, the maestro of semi-classical songs, introduced several singers like P Susheela to films; he also played a major role in the career of three generations of the Yesudas family, including his father Augustine Joseph and son Vijay Yesudas.
In 1971, Dakshinamoorthy, a native of Ambalappuzha in Kerala won the Kerala State Film Award for the best music director and received the state government's lifetime achievement award in 1998. Singer Susheela recalled him as a "patient teacher". "He was so humble and never made anyone feel small," said Susheela, who met the singer last at a function in March.
A guru for many generations
Venkateswaran Dakshinamoorthy, better known as Dakshinamoorthy Swamy, who died in Mylapore on Friday, was a guru for generations.
Born on December 22, 1919 to D Venkateswara Iyer and Parvathi Ammal in Kerala's Alappuzha district, his interest in music was nurtured by his mother who taught him keerthanas of Thyagaraja Swamikal when he was still a child. He used to sing more than 40 ragas at the age of four.
He later learned music from Venkitachalam Potty in Thiruvananthapuram. An ardent devotee of Vaikkathappan, he left for Vaikkom temple and engaged in singing bhajans there. During this time, he used to sing classical music in different parts of the state, but always went back to Vaikkom.
His entry to the film music was through the film Nalla Thanka, jointly produced by Kunchakko and P V Koshy. Agustin Joseph and Vaikkom Mani played the lead roles in that film, which was the second from Udaya Studio. At the insistence of lyricist Abhayadev and the lead actors in the film, Dakshinamoorthy was invited to compose a sloka sung by the heroine Miss Kumari in the film. Though a Chennai-based musician Rama Rao was to compose the songs for the film, Dakshinamoothy was asked to compose the slokam 'Sambho..njan kanvathenthenthu...adayukayo malkavadangalayyo...', for the film.
This marked the entry of Dakshinamoorthy into the film world. In 1948, he shifted his base to Chennai and continued to compose music for films for over six decades. He composed more than 850 songs for films in different languages, mainly in Malayalam and Tamil. P Susheela, Kaviyor Revamma and P Leela were some of the illustrious playback singers nurtured by him. At the age of 90, he composed four songs for a Malayalam movie, Mizhikal Sakshi.
"Usually people lose interest in such creative pursuits in areas like light music, or their creativity get stunted, after certain age. But Dakshinamurthy could transcend the barriers of age and retain his graceful interest in the film music field," filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan said.
Perhaps it was for lyrics of Sreekumaran Thampy that Dakshinamoothy composed the maximum number of super hit songs. The duo worked together for more than 50 films. Some of the popular songs from this team include 'Hridaya sarasile pranaya pushpame,' 'Vaikkathashtami nalil,' 'Arattinanakal ezhunnalli,' 'Tharaka roopini,' 'Manohari nin manoradhathil' and 'Uthara swayamvaram kathakali kanuvan.'
Swamy retired from active film music composing in the 1980s. But he continued his classical music concerts till three years ago and he used to sing his own compositions. Swamy was sage who could apply Carnatic music in all types of songs he did. Music composer R K Damodaran said Dakshinamoorthy could apply the spirit of Carnatic music in whatever bhava, be it sringara, bhakthi or hasyam.