K. V. Mahadevan

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K. V. Mahadevan
Background information
Birth nameKrishnankoil Venkadachalam Mahadevan
Born(1918-03-14)14 March 1918
Krishnancoil, Nagercoil, present-day Kanyakumari District [2]
Died21 June 2001(2001-06-21) (aged 83)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Genres Film score, Theatre
Occupations Music director
InstrumentsKeyboard, piano
Years active1942–1992

Krishnankoil Venkadachalam Mahadevan (14 March 1918 – 21 June 2001) was an Indian composer, singer-songwriter, music producer, and musician known for his works in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada films. He is best known for his contributions in works such as Manchi Manasulu (1962), Lava Kusa (1963), Thiruvilaiyadal (1965), Saraswathi Sabatham (1966), Kandan Karunai (1967), Thillana Mohanambal (1968), Adimai Penn (1969), Balaraju Katha (1970), Athiparasakthi (1971), Sankarabharanam (1979), Saptapadi (1981), Sirivennela (1986), Sruthilayalu (1987), Pelli Pustakam (1991), and Swathi Kiranam (1992).


A contemporary of M. S. Viswanathan and T. K. Ramamoorthy, starting his career in 1942 with Manonmani , Mahadevan scored music for over six hundred feature films, spanning four decades, and has garnered two National Film Awards, three Andhra Pradesh state Nandi Awards, a Tamil Nadu State Film Award, and a Filmfare Award South. [3] He was also conferred the title of "Thirai Isai Thilagam" (Pride of Cine Music Directors) in Tamil cinema. His assistant Pukazhenthi is credited to have usually writing the score and arranging the orchestra, after Mahadevan composes a tune.

Early life and career

K. V. Mahadevan was born in 1918 at Krishnancoil, a locality in Nagercoil, Kanyakumari District. Father Venkadachalam Bhagavathar and Mother Pichaiyammal [2] K. V. Mahadevan, also called by his honorific name Thirai Isai Thilagam (lit. pride of film music), [4] did music composing for more than 50 years, beginning from 1942 until 1993.

Telugu Film Industry crowned him with title "Swara Brahma" (Creator/Father of Musical notes). His song "mama mama mama" from 1962 Telugu movie Manchi Manasulu became popular those days,as a result, Telugu film industry with love started calling him "Mama" since then.

His favorite music instrument is Nadaswaram similar to (Shehnai).It could be the reason his compositions have always reflected its mellifluous pattern. Another great characteristic from this scholar as it is known to everyone and open fact that he never asked lyricist to write lyrics for his earlier composed tunes. Always composed tunes to written lyrics.Very few in India have been able to exercise this feat with success.

Music has no Language barriers. “Sisurvethi, pasurvethi, vethiganarasamphanihi” is a popular Sanskrit axiom which says that Music has the power to impress a child, animal, and the universe alike. As we can read from Climax song of film Sankarabharanam (1980 film), "Tatva Saadhana ku Satya Shodhana ku Sangeethame Sopanam" (Music is a Stair Case for attaining Enlightenment and truth discovery)

"Swara Brahma" left no foot prints of his mother tongue when it comes to his scores in other languages. Telugu language being inherited from Sanskrit, has its own nativity which composers of Telugu as their mother tongue and "North" (O. P. Nayyar), "West" (C. Ramchandra), (Shankar–Jaikishan), (Laxmikant–Pyarelal), (Chirrantan Bhatt), "East" (R. D. Burman), (Salil Chowdhury), (Ravindra Jain), (Bappi Lahiri) like composers could fulfill effortlessly. "Swara Brahma" automatically had fallen into that groove as he was getting to know meaning of lyrics for every song before composing them. Assistant Puhalendi too exhibited similar characteristics as it was evident from interludes orchestration.

According to famous Director K. Raghavendra Rao opinion as expressed by him, Mama "Mahadevan" is "Saraswati Putra" and K. Chakravarthy is "Ekalavya". His 1977 film Adavi Ramudu (1977 film) was recorded as the highest grossing Telugu film of the 1970s. Director K. Raghavendra Rao 's father K. S. Prakash Rao mostly worked with Pendyala Nageswara Rao between 1950&1974. K. Chakravarthy too composed good music for music lover K. Raghavendra Rao previous movies Jyothi (1976 film) and Kalpana (1977 film).

But Production house Sathya Chitra earlier production Tahsildar Gari Ammayi music was scored by Mama. Based on their faith, Sathya chitra insisted and retained "Mama" for N. T. Rama Rao movie Adavi Ramudu (1977 film). Mama's composition "Krushi vunte Manushulu Rishi avutaaru" (Effort makes Humans Saints) stands testimony to all stake holders of this movie and to every one who believes in determination. "Yuva Chitra Arts" banner Producer K. Murari being ardent fan of "Mama" stopped producing movies ever since "Mama" called it a day in his career. Director Bapu (director), Producer S. Gopala Reddy , Director Kodi Ramakrishna and later in his career actor Mohan Babu loved working with "Mama". It would be tough to guess between "Swara Brahma" and Director "K. Viswanath" as to, who was elemental in whose fame. Combined effort returned laurels to art of Cinema. May be "Vidhaata talapuna prabhavinchinadi anaadi Jeevana Vedam". Contemporary musician P. Bhanumathi criticized "Mama" about his score for movie Sankarabharanam (1980 film) as lighter version Carnatic music Raga 's rendered by him. Later she even went on to sing a song "Shree Surya Narayanaa Melukoo" for "Mama" in his 1984 movie Mangammagari Manavadu .

His music assistant known as Puhalendi in Telugu film industry was with him like a life partner throughout his life, though scored few films on his own. Mahadevan-Puhalendi Pukazhenthi as music director duo scored music for 1993 N. T. Rama Rao movie Srinatha Kavi Sarvabhowmudu directed by Bapu (director).

Selected filmography





Playback Singer

1952 Kumari TamilAanukkoru Penn VenumeyK. V. Mahadevan
1953 Madana Mohini TamilUnmaikke Ulagil Uyarvuthaan IllaiyeK. V. Mahadevan
Peru Sollum Pillai IllaiyeG. Kasthoori
Vaazhiya Senthamizh Thaaye
Kannodu Kannaayi Rahasiyam Pesi P. Leela
1953 Naalvar TamilAbaraadham Roobaa Aimbadhu K. Rani K. V. Mahadevan
1954 Koondukkili TamilRaatthirikku Boovaavukku Laatteri T. M. Soundararajan & V. N. SundharamK. V. Mahadevan
1955 Asai Anna Arumai Thambi TamilPozhaikkum Vazhiyai PaaruThodi Kannan, S. C. Krishnan, P. Susheela, Udutha & PadmaK. V. Mahadevan
Kaanaadha Kaatchigalai Paaru K. Rani


Personal life

K.V.Mahadevan, at the time of his death, was survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters. The famous son being V. Mahadevan, whose debut role was that of a Judge in the Tamil film Maasilamani.


K.V. Mahadevan died on 21 June 2001 in Chennai when he was 83. [3]

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  1. "Article on K. V. Mahadevan in The Hindu". 29 June 2001. Archived from the original on 20 October 2003.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. 1 2 Kolappan, B. (5 January 2015). "Forgotten heroes of Carnatic music". The Hindu.
  3. 1 2 "The Hindu : K.V. Mahadevan dead". Hinduonnet.com. 22 June 2001. Archived from the original on 13 March 2008. Retrieved 29 February 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  4. Thirai Isai Thilagam - K.V. Mahadevan - All Songs - Download or Listen Free - JioSaavn, 15 June 2018, retrieved 26 May 2021
  5. The Times of India, Entertainment. "National Awards Winners 1967: Complete list of winners of National Awards 1967". timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Archived from the original on 24 March 2020. Retrieved 11 August 2021.