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Manisegaran on Papanasam Sivan

Original Thread

  • From: Manisekaran (@ on: Wed Oct 20 02:19:35 EDT 1999

    SK I saw your article, but could not read as I do not have Murasu. Anyway I am giving some details here that I do remember of Pabanasam Sivan

    He was born in 1890 and died quite recently in 1973 at the age of 83. His original name was Ramaiah. But ever since he devoted himself to the service of the Lord in a place called Papanasam, he became affectionaltely know as Papanasam Sivan. He himself admitted that he did not get formal education. He lost his father at early childhood. It was his mothetr's talent as a musician herself that instilled interest in music. Sivan learnt from Samba Bhagavathar,and Mahadeva Bhagavathar. He only took up the basic of Hamsathavani, Kalyani and Bhairavi. Yet he was able toi improvise and mastered several ragas.

    Sivan's brother is Pabanasam Rajagopal Iyer who is a teacher, cine actor an the father of the late actress VN Janaki. Therefore Sivan is the Chinna Mamanaar of the late MGR as well as Ganapathy Butt.

    Pabanasam started to write for dramas while in Madras, and acted and sang as well in small roles in stage dramas. Then he had the perfect combination of the old singers especially MKT as well as the old Music Directors, the most famous of whom was G Ramanathan. In those days there were actors and actresses who sang as well. PU Chinnappa, MKT, MS Subbulachumy, MM dandapani Desigar Musiri Subramaniya Iyer and Duraiyoor Rajagopal, V Nagaiya are but some of those most famous singers of those days who had sung the songs of Sivan.

    Just before and during the lifetime of Sivan there were famous poets such as Gopalakrishna Bharathiyar, Murthu Thandavar, Arunasala Kavirayar, Ramalinga Adikal, Neelakanda Sivan, and Marimuthu Pillai who did contribute to the development of Tamil Music. But it is said that the contribution of Sivan is still by far the best.

    Sivan's first song is Unnai Thuthikka Arul Thaa composed in Kuntahala Varaali and soon became such a hit that he had composed nothing less than 600 songs. These 600 have been composed in 3 volumes. Of course many manuscript copies of other songs of his remain unprinted. His Sri Rama Saritha Geetham is still aclaimed as his msterpiece. It is a 45 minute song on Ramayana sung by Seergazhi Govindarajan and released in LP.

    Sivan seems to be a multi talented artiste. His songs were interchangeable - ie songs written for cine situations were popular in stage kacheries and songs written for stage kacheries were used in cinema situations. One medai kacheri song "Saravanabava Ennum Thirumanthiram" had been used in a film called Kanniga.

    Likewise the songs from cinema that have been and are still used in medai kacheri are like:
    1) Amba manam kanithu unathu kadaikan paar
    2) Oru Naal Oru Pozhuthaakilum Siavn Namam UCharikka Vendum
    3) Sithambaranaatha Thiruvarul Thaaraai
    All be MKT.

    Sivan had a rare talent which still is missing in the modern cine world. He used to write the pallavi, anupallavi, and charanam in full. At the same time he used to also state the raga and the thalam nd even provide tune and notes for the songs. All the Music Directors had to do was to just get the orchestratioin composed. Thats it! DO we have such a personality these day? He also used to sit with the music Direstors to improvise on the song production. The closes to him were MKT and G Ramanathan who worked in a team and therby added fame and name on eah other.(You may refer to my article on MKT)

    When the songs of Sivan became popular, the Tamil fans wanted to see him in movies. So the famous director K Subramaniam made him act in Baktha Kusela. MS Subbulachumy acted as Krishna (male) while Sivan took the role of a poor person. His thin fram fitted his role well.Then he took a bigger role as father in Thiaga Boomi a story that was banned by the British when it appeared in Kalki.
    Jupiter film produced Kubera Kuchela where he acted with PU CHinnappa. His last film was Baktha Desa. After that he went into religious service and said good bye to cine world. But KVM was the MD in the last film of MKT-Sivakami. KVM forced Sivan to compose for Sivagami. Those devotional songs there are by Sivan.
    Apart from composing for MKT Sivan also composed in abundance for MS Subbulachumy in Sagunthalai and Baktha Meera. Then of course for PU Chinnappa in Pavalakkodi, Jagathalaprathaban and Aryamala.

    Pabanasam Sivan has some decorations for himself
    1. Sivapunya Gnanamani
    2.Sangeetha Kalanithi
    3.Sangeetha Sagithya Kalasigamani
    Isai Peraringar.

    They also used to call him "Thamizh Thiagarajar". Then there are others who say "Paattukku Oru Pulavar Bharathy-Thamizh Isaikku Oru Pulavan Pabanasan Sivan"

    His songs certainly enriched cinema music, Thamizh isai, medai kacheries and Bharatha natyam. He was truly an Iyal-Isai Nadaga Venthar.

    (these are the only notes I have of him)

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