Viswanathan, son of Subrahmanian Nair of Elappuli Manayakathuveetil, Palakkad, may not be a familiar name for many. But there won't be many Keralites who have not heard of M.S.Viswanathan aka MSV who created a universe of emotion through his magnum opus Kannuneer thulliye from Panitheeratha veedu(1973). The song penned by Vayalar Ramavarma was composed and sung by MSV.
M.S.Viswanathan's achievements range from introducing fresher melodies with changing trends, style and orchestration approaches by incorporating various genres of what is now called world music into Indian cinema music. Humming, Chorus, Whistling were all incorporated swiftly in the songs composed by M.S.V without usage of advanced technology way back in the 1950s to the 1970s. MSV continued to upgrade his music with new trends like western music and disco from the early 1970s till the 1990s and blended them with Indian classical tunes.
During the 1970s and 80s, Viswanathan worked with younger singers such as Vani Jairam as well as established singers like P. Susheela, L. R. Eswari and T. M. Soundararajan.
Although S.P. Balasubramaniyam shot to fame with the song Ayiram Nilave Vaa from Adimai Penn, a K. V. Mahadevan composition in 1969 which S.P.Balasubramanyam got to sing the song the insistence of M. G. Ramachandran, but fact was that it was Viswanathan who booked him first for a Tamil film and gave him his first Tamil song, from Shanthi Nilayam with the song Iyarkai Ennum also in 1969, though the latter got released after Adimai Penn. S.P.Balasubramaniyam regards Viswanathan as one of his patrons and Gurus in the Tamil films.
Viswanathan introduced Jayachandran, the Malayalam singer to the Tamil films in Manippayal(1973) with the song Thanga-chimizhpol and used him for many more films in the 70s. K. J. Yesudas was given a big break in the film Kathalikka Neramillai in 1964 by the duo. Later Viswanathan worked with him again only in 1973 after a long gap at the insistence of M. G. Ramachandran in the film Ulagam Sutrum Valiban. Yesudas then continued to be voice of M.G. Ramachandran in many films like in Nalai Namathe, Urmaikural, Sirithu Vazha Vendum in Viswanathan's music.
MSV even created magic when he rendered the song Vidai kodu engal nadae tuned by A.R. Rahman for the movie Kannathil Muthamittal.
Even during his last days, MSV used to enlighten music lovers with his compositions. He was also involved in judging music based reality shows.