Remembering Devarajan Master on his 7th Death Anniversary
Paravoor Govindan Devarajan popularly known as G. Devarajan or Devarajan master, was a Malayalam music composer, died on March 15, 2006 in Chennai, at the age of 81.
He has scored music for more than three hundred Malayalam films, many dramas, twenty Tamil and four Kannada movies. Many of his compositions remain ever green classics in Malayalam. Besides, his music in the Tamil film ‘Annai Velankanni’ has received many accolades. Devarajan received Kerala Government’s Best Music Director award for five times, among other honours.
Born at Paravur, near Kollam district in Kerala, Devarajan rendered his first classical concert at the age of 18. He was soon attracted to the Communist movement and decided to dedicate his creative energy for popular music. He joined the once famous drama troupe of Kerala, the Kerala People’s Arts Club (KPAC). The work that brought him to limelight was the drama song titled Ponnarivaal ambiliyil kanneriyunnoole. KPAC and its members had a distinctive leaning towards the communist ideology, and their dramas did play a role in spreading the ideology among the Keralite masses. Through his compositions, Devarajan could cast an indelible imprint in the Malayali theatre arena, especially after the famous KPAC drama Ningalenne Communistaakki written by Thoppil Bhasi in 1952.
The first movie for which he composed music was Kaalam Maarunnu (1955). He teamed up with poet-lyricist Vayalar Ramavarma in Chathurangam in 1959. His third movie – and the second with Vayalar – Bharya (1962) became a huge hit and made them a popular combination. His captivating music earned him pride of place among those who had relentlessly strived to earn a dignified status for film songs. His combination with Vayalar produced the golden era of Malayalam film music. Devarajan is remembered by legendary singers in Malayalam like K. J. Yesudas and Jayachandran as their Godfather. In fact, it was the magical compositions by him that brought laurels to the main singers of that age. Devarajan was at one point of time regarded as the doyen of Film music in South India. He was much feared and respected by all musicians and singers of that period, for his sound knowledge in Classical music. It might be due to this dominance he had over others that he was widely known as arrogant. But he enjoyed a royal status till his death among the music circles.
Devarajan was the one who used maximum number of raaga’s in Malayalam film music. His music embraced different styles with the Carnatic and Hindusthani melody lines meeting folk idioms and western harmony. Despite being a strong atheist, he composed brilliant devotional songs like “Harivarasanam”, Guruvayoor ambalanadayil,Chethi mandaram thulasi, Nithya vishudhayam kanya mariyame etc. which are considered as classics in that genre. Also, he is particularly noted for his remarkable ability to blend the words of the lyrics with the mood of the situation, in his film song compositions. His compositions like Aayiram Padasarangal, Sanghupushpam, Sanyasini, Sanghamam, Chakravarthini, Chandrakalabham to name a few, surely come in as the best and the most popular songs in the Malayalam film music till now. Most of his hit songs were written by Vayalar Ramavarma and the combination of Vayalar-Devarajan-Yesudas was synonymous with beautiful songs. The Vayalar-Devarajan combine proved the most successful team till the death of Vayalar in the mid 1970s. Hundreds of songs contributed by the team are still part of Malayalis’ nostalgia. Apart from Vayalar, he has also given tunes to the lyrics by other eminent poets and song writers like O. N. V. Kurup, P. Bhaskaran, Sreekumaran Thampi etc.
The name Devarajan master is remembered by Malayalam music lovers all over the world as the composer of deva raagas – divine melodies.
A complete work of Devarajan master Devageethikal composed by himself has released and the book is published by Authentic books.
Devarajan master died of a heart attack at his residence in Chennai on March 15, 2006 at the age of 81. He was cremated with state honours in Paravur, his hometown.
Kerala State Film Awards:
1969 – Best Music Director
1970 – Best Music Director – Thriveni
1972 – Best Music Director
1985 – Best Music Director
1991 – Best Background Music – Yamanam
1999 – Kerala State Film Award for Lifetime Achievement – J. C. Daniel Lifetime Achievement Award from the Government of Kerala