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She lent her voice to many a famous face

Old songs still ruled because they were rich with message and melody


Shortly after the release of Pallandu Vazhga, one of the last films in which the late MGR acted, she became a household name. It is hard to believe that she was just a teenager when she sang the song `Poi vaa nadhi alaiyae.'It was this song, which brought her name and fame, although her earlier hit was `Thaayir chirantha kovilum illai' in the film Agathiar. Playback singer T.K. Kala, who was recently in Tiruchi, recalls her career in the film world and her views on the current trend in the industry with M. Balaganessin.

"In the initial years, my playback songs were mainly meant for child artistes, but it was MGR who identified my talent and recommended my name to music director K.V. Mahadevan for this song," she recalls, with gratitude.

She instantly goes down memory lane to narrate an incident that happened at a marriage reception party. "MGR had come to attend the ceremony for a while, but spent about two hours listening to my vocal concert in rapt attention." He successfully persuaded Mr. Mahadevan to get her to lend her voice to a heroin.

She is a bit unhappy over the current trends in film music, especially over the `modernisation' of the beats and notes of old film songs. Old songs still ruled because they were either rich with some message and melody or situation specific. The remixed tune of `Thottal poo malarum' in the film `New' could not overshadow its original form at any cost, she asserts.

The lyrics and tune of old films had been meticulously designed so that they could even capture the attention of non-film-goers, bringing the exact environment of a sequence in the film. She sings `Kaniya kaniya mazhalai pesum paienkili' to drive home the point that it refers to romance. She has a piece of advice for music directors of Tamil films. "They should evolve a new style of their own, without prejudice to the existing or old ones. This was the phenomenon observed in the past decades. From the days of P.U. Chinnappa and M.K. Thiyagaraja Bhagavathar, Tamil film music has undergone a rapid change, each with a specific transformation." M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamurthy introduced light music, which was widely acclaimed and much admired.

She is all praise for music director G. Ramanathan, popularly known as G.R., who was "quite familiar with the capability of each and every playback singer of yesteryears." This knowledge enabled him to make the right choice for each song.

She says that Tamil lyrics would regain their lost glory if sung by playback singers who were familiar with the language.

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