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Paravoor Govindan Devarajan (1927-2006), popularly known as G. Devarajan or Devarajan master, was an Indian music composer and Carnatic Vocalist. He is considered one of the greatest music directors in the history of Indian film music arena. He scored music for more than three hundred Malayalam films, many dramas, and twenty Tamil and four Kannada movies. Many of his compositions remain ever green classics in Malayalam. His music in the Tamil film Annai Velankanni has received many accolades. Devarajan received Kerala Government's Best Music Director award five times, among other honours. He is widely regarded as the greatest music composer of Malayalam cinema of all time.
|Born||27 September 1927|
Paravur, Kollam, India
|Died||14 March 2006 (aged 78)|
|Genres||Film music, stage play music, Carnatic music|
|Occupation(s)||Film composer, music director|
|Associated acts||Vayalar, K. J. Yesudas|
Born at Paravur, Kollam district in Kerala to mridangam vidwan and carnatic musician Kochu Govindan Asan and Kochukunju as their eldest son, Devarajan learned the art adeptly from his father. Devarajan performed his first classical concert at the age of 17 and started to perform more concerts on AIR. He was soon attracted to the Communist movement and decided to dedicate his creative energy to popular music. He joined the once famous drama troupe of Kerala, the Kerala People's Arts Club (KPAC). The work that brought him to the limelight was the drama song titled "Ponnarivaal ambiliyil kanneriyunnoole", written by his friend O. N. V. Kurup and composed and sung by himself. KPAC and its members had a distinctive leaning towards the communist ideology, and their dramas played a role in spreading the ideology among the Keralite masses. Through his compositions, Devarajan would 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 music earned him pride of place among those who had striven to earn a dignified status for film songs. His collaborations with Vayalar produced the golden era of Malayalam film music. Devarajan is remembered by prominent singers in Malayalam like K. J. Yesudas and Jayachandran as their Godfather. In fact, it was the compositions by him that brought laurels to the main singers of that age. Devarajan was at one point regarded as the doyen of film music in South India. He was much 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 the most number of raagas in Malayalam film music. His music embraced different styles with the Carnatic and Hindustani melody lines meeting folk idioms and Western harmony. Despite being a strong atheist, he composed devotional songs like "Harivarasanam", "Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil", "Chethi Mandaram Thulasi", and "Nithyavishudhayam Kanyamariyame", which are considered 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. Most of his hit songs were written by Vayalar Ramavarma and the combination of Vayalar-Devarajan-P Susheela-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 lyrics by other eminent poets and songwriters like O. N. V. Kurup, P. Bhaskaran, and Sreekumaran Thampi.
A complete work of Devarajan, Devageethikal, composed by himself, has released and the book is published by Authentic books.
Devarajan died of a massive heart attack at his residence in Chennai at 11 PM IST on 14 March 2006. He was 78 at the time of his death, and was survived by his wife, two children - a daughter (elder) and a son (younger) - and some grandchildren. His body was taken airway to Thiruvananthapuram, and was cremated with state honors at Nehru Park in Paravur, his hometown.
- Omanakuttan (1964)
- Bhoomidevi Pushpiniyayi (1974)
- Ammini Ammavan(1976)
- Vishnu Vijayam (1974)
- Chattakari (1974)
- Ponni (1976)
- Shalini Ente Koottukari (1980)
- Meen (1980)
- Parankimala (1981)
- "A melodious obsession". The Hindu. 24 September 2019. p. 6. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
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- Hindu online, Soaring on the wings of poetry
- Hindu online, Music from the heart
- Hindu online, Ode to a legend
- Songs Composed for Malayalam Movies
- Malayalam music orphaned – (Sunday Kaumudi)
- R.I.P. G. Devarajan Master
- Devarajan Master
- G Devarajan at MSI
- All Malayalam Movie Songs Composed by G Devarajan at MSI
- All Malayalam Non Movie Songs Composed by G Devarajan at MSI
- An interview with Devarajan Master