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Manisegaran on G.Ramanathan

Original Thread

  • From: Manisekaran (@ on: Mon Dec 21 13:26:21 EST 1998

    G. Ramanathan, SV VEngkatraman and CR Subbaraman are still called the "Thamizh thirai Isayin Mummoorthikal". The only film that had all these three genius composers working together is "Parijatham" They were all genius in their own ways, but SVV and CRS acknowledged GR as the "Isai Methai". GR always made it a point to come out with some tunes that are unique in some ways. Volumes could be written about GR, but let me just say within the limitaions in this thread. G Ramanathan's father was Gobalsamy Iyer who worked as sub-inspector in the Indian Railways. GR studied till standard 5. He married in 1942 and has 2 sons-one is Sai and the other is Baba. He himself is a devotee of Sai Baba and this is reflected in naming his sons. At the age of 18 he joined the Baratha Gana Saba, a drama troupe and played harmonium. Then he joined the famous VA Sellappa Drama company, and sang playback apart from playing harmonium. In 1932 a Tamil film called "Kalavarishi" was produced in Calcutta. That was the film where he first played musical instrument. When MKT produced Sathyaseelan in Bombay GR became the MD for that film. Next he was the MD for the old Vipranarayana. The first film to be produced in Madras with GR as the MD was Poogailas, followed by Parasuraman and Boologa Rambai(old). When Modern Theatres started to take movies almost all movies went to GR for music direction except a few such as Kaithi Kannayiram and Vannakkili where KVM directed the music. In Aayiram Thalai Vangiya Aboorva Chintamani he acted as the Sanyasi. GR never had proper training in carnatic music. It was all "keLvi gnanam". But later he picked up tremendous liking for the carnatic music and excelled in it to the astonishment of many vidvans. At a time when it used to be thought that cine music would never equal the pure form of carnatic music, the song "Manmatha Leelaiyai venRAr uNdO" proved otherwise. (Please refer to my article on MKT for details) Under various MDs of the later period light music became popular. But GR's music was not termed "light" in the strict sense of the word. Most of his songs were singled out as "semi classic". He believed that only music that had the carnatic base could endure. He was a great lover of the golden voice of GN Balasubramaniam, MLV, Maharajapuram Visvanatha Iyer, MKT and the Hindi film MD- Noushad. He himself had been a very good singer. He took his own film "Puthu Yugam" but was unfortunately an utter flop. In the cine field he loved the golden voice of the all time greatest MKT. Many times, while listening to the record of MKT GR lost himslef. Firstly he could not believe that he himself had been the composer of these soul-stirring songs, and secondly he could not believe that MKT could sing to the extent of mesmerising the MD himself. In one of the early interviews of GR he had mentioned that it was only MKT who could "deliver" what was expected of any singer. GR always went for excellence in any singer. That is why TMS mentioned that if one could sijng to the satisfaction and the tune of GR you could easily sing for the tune of any MD in any part of the world. Unlike other MDs GR used to sing out the songs before recording. GR became the MD when stage dramas were equally popular ie in the 1940s. He had to balance between the cinema and the stage dramas. In those days very few films were produced, but these films had far too many songs. It was conditional that the cine songs of those day had to be composed to the basic carnatic tune. The cinema companies used to provide food and accommodation to the MDs and singers in those days. They used to be kept under "house arrest" in the special studios for days. They practised the songs- at least for a week. During these days the singers were given special food to ensure that their voice do not get spoilt. The singers used to get up at dawn and take oil bath. They used to be consume special oil to smoothen their throat. To cut the story short, this is the atmosphere in which GR started his career in the cine field. The influence of drama music was always there in his films. A few examples of tunes lifted from drama songs: 1. Sarasarani Kalyani-Raja Desing 2. Vanamevum Rajakumara-Raja Desing 3. Anbe En Aaruyire- Kaveri 4. Thene Unnai thedi thedi-Ambikapathi 5. many of the Thooku Thooki songs etc etc etc... But he died at a time when music was becoming "lighter". His last film was "Deivathin Deivam" by KSG. GR's greatest talent was that he was able to compose tunes suiting the storyline as well as the period of production of the films. In the said last film he gave various moods. 1.Bharathiyar's "Kannan Mananilayiai Thangame Thangam- kandu vara vendumadi thangame thangam.(SJ) 2. Male solo- Kannukkul Ethanai Vellamadi(TMS) 3. Female Solo- Nee illatha ulagathile Nimmati Illai(PS) 4. Sad song- Paattu Paada Vaiyeduthen Elolo(PS) 5. Two ladies- Anname Sornamey...(PS&SJ) 6. Love duet with modern touch- Ennaruyire Kanivanamuthey...(PBS&SJ) There was alos a kachery by Seetrgazhi Govindarajan. Unfortunately he died of heart attack after the he had started composing for the film Arunakirinathar. Then S. Dachinamoorthy completed it. Therfore the last film of GR was Deivathin Deivam.
    Matravai Oivu Irukkumpothu

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