V Dakshinamoorthy, the living legend among Malayalam composers, has always believed in the power of his inner voice, guided by the Almighty. Like the right selection of colours gives life to a portrait, the composer, feels he, should carefully select the notes and weave the melody. “And there is a godly power that you will distinctly feel before selecting your colours or notes. That instinct makes the choice flawless. So, all my tunes are a tribute to the Almighty who made me a musician,” says Dakshinamoorthy.
Like golden rays of twilight, memories are still afresh in his mind, though he is 92. “My mother used to sing lullabies. That soothing voice ignited in me the desire to know more about ragas and keerthanas. She, who is well versed in Carnatic music, was my first teacher. I call her a ‘Raga Devatha’. But my dream started taking a definite shape when the late Venkatachalam Potty admitted me as one of his students. I learned Carnatic music from that great man,” says Dakshinamoorthy who debuted in Malayalam films as a composer through ‘Nalla Thanka’ in 1950.
His music came as a breath of fresh air, and music lovers instantly took to his tunes. The most loved among his collection are ‘Hrudaya sarassile pranaya pushpame’, ‘Paattu paadi urakkaam njan’, ‘Swapnangal, swapnangale ningal swarga kumarikal’, ‘Uthara Swayamvaram kadhakali kaanuvan’, ‘Ponveyil manikkacha azhinju veenu’ and ‘Vaathil pazhuthilooden munnil kunkumam’. He was one of those rare composers to use pure classical, raga-based tunes for romantic numbers. This made his compositions truly unique. The wonderful touch he gave to a song like ‘Nananju neriya patturumaal, suvarna noolile aksharangal (Ente Mohangal Poovaninju) remains etched in one’s memory.
In a career spanning 55 odd years, the veteran composed music for more than 125 films, his last film being the Mohanlal starrer, ‘Mizhikal Sakshi’ (2008). He also did a cameo in Ranjith’s ‘Chandrotsavam’. But after ‘Mizhikal Sakshi’, Dakshinamoorthy decided to quit the music scene in films. He says it was the same divine inner voice that asked him to stop.
“Almost like a dream, I felt something inside me making me withdraw from films. The same divine spirit that had motivated me to render music for all these years was forcing me to give it up. I too felt that the time had come to stop because without His blessings, I was sure that I would not be able to create music anymore,” he adds.
Like a guiding light, four lines have always determined his life choices . “Aadichal aadum, paadichaal paadum, oottichal unnum, urangichal urangum. The lines point to the fact that a universal power is guiding us, motivating us. So my only wish now is that I would like to be reborn as a devotee like Poonthanam and dedicate my life at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna,” says Dakshinamoorthy.