Padmashri T M Soundararajan is no more.
Extremities exist in this world. One end we had Nadigar Thilagam Sivaji and at other end lived Makkal Thilagam MGR. At one end there is philosophical contemplation “Aaru maname aaru” (Heal Mind Heal) and on the other hand, whip smacking revolutionary thoughts Naan aanai ittal (If I command). Romantic comedy avalukkenna azhagiya mugam (she has a beautiful face) songs were heard, simultaneously spiritual songs like Mannanalum thiruchenduril Mannaven (I’ll be a dust in the land of Thiruchendur) were played any number of times.
In all these extremities, one common feature was T M Soundararajan aka TMS. He has been amazing having ruled the roost for six decades, working in more than 5000 films, with four generations of music directors, having sung 10,000+ songs and has rendered his voice to almost all leading heroes in the southern film industry.
A complete package!!
He belonged to a Sourashtra Brahim family. He was able to adapt to actors’ voices, appropriate style and pronunciation. Success accompanied when songs were delivered with apt voice modulation and proper pronunciation that carried meaning and message to the masses. He was constantly able to deliver and adapt to situations. Little wonder, he is called a complete package.
TMS rendered his voice for almost all leading stars and worked with leading music directors. But the notable combination that rattled the Tamil population is the combination of MSV, TMS & MGR. Songs penned by Kannadasan and Vaali for MGR with revolutionary thoughts and political aspirations were sculptured by music maestro MSV and the life was given to it by TMS. These songs are still heard in remote villages of Tamil Nadu. They are beyond time and space, hence can be attributed as three worlds.
Making of Brand MGR!!
We now live in the age of technology and viral marketing. But during the 1950s and 1960s for a person to be successful and famous he had to be marketed either in print or in the audio visual media. In such a period there emerged a brand called The Red and Black over coat and dresses with Red Black combination worn by MGR. Another major factor that contributed to his brand was the audio impact provided by combined efforts of MSV, TMS and Kannadasan. A good part of success of MGR has to go to TMS. Songs with revolutionary thoughts and messages were played in radio (which was the only source of entertainment at that point of time) repeatedly. One can say MGR reached the masses through TMS’ Voice.
In one of the songs featuring MGR and Latha sung by TMS and Susila, there is a line stating-Unnai Kaatavendum endral Oliyai kaatalam (Literal Meaning: To describe you, one can show light). These lines are most appropriate to TMS, as he is the one who lived with fame, brightness compared to light and he can be described as both light and voice.