T.M. Soundarajan Dead

Indian thrush was playback singer for Sivaji Ganesan, MGR

Indian singer T.M. Soundarajan, who provided the singing voice for yesteryear Tamil screen stars such as Sivaji Ganesan and M.G. Ramachandran, died May 25 in Chennai, India, following a brief illness. He was 91.

Soundarajan sang such Tamil hits as “Ponaal pogotum poda” in “Paalum pazamum” and the titular song in “Anbe vaa.”

His voice suited both Ganesan and Ramachandran even though both were rival stars of the 1960s. However, due to a misunderstanding with Ramachandran, the latter discontinued using Soundarajan as his singing voice in the 1970s.

Born in Madurai, Tamilnadu, Soundarajan learned South Indian classical singing at age 7. He gave his first concert at age 23 and then went into singing for South Indian film stars. From 1946 through 2007 he recorded more than 5,000 film and devotional songs, including the famous “Ullam uruguthayya” (The heart melts). His last public perf was the theme song for the 2010 World Classical Tamil Conference, organized by composer A.R. Rahman.

Among the various honors bestowed on him by Tamilnadu state was the Indian government’s Padma Shri for distinguished contributions from artists.

Survivors include a wife and two sons.

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