Chennai, July 14: Heaping encomiums on legendary music director M S Viswanathan who passed away here, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today expressed regret that the musician was deprived of the prestigious Padma awards despite she herself making pleas since 1991.
Jayalalithaa said that MSV, as Viswanathan was fondly addressed, was hailed as the 'King of Melody' and remained a legend in Tamil cinema.
Viswanathan had composed music for over 1,200 films, 700 of them in association with his former partner T K Ramamurthy, besides crooning many numbers.
Also read: Music legend M S Viswanathan passes away
"Above all, he had composed the tune for 'Neeradum Kadaludutha' (the Tamil salutation song played in all government functions), and his songs are etched in the hearts of Tamil people," she said, adding he was at ease playing the piano, harmonium and keyboard.
The Chief Minister, a yesteryear actor, recalled she had sung songs, including the hit 'O meri dilruba' in the Tamil film 'Suriyagandhi' besides others for which he had set the tunes.
It would 'not be an exaggeration' to say that his songs still continue to be popular among people, she added.
However, despite a number of awards won by him, he was not presented with the prestigious Padma awards, she said adding this was a matter of regret for her.
"I have been recommending with the Centre since 1991 that he be presented with the Padma award but the Central governments, which have not done anything in favour of Tamil Nadu, did not heed this," she said in a statement.
Viswanathan with his unparalleled talent had brought great pride to Tamil cinema and the state in particular and his death was an "irreparable loss" to the tinsel town, she said, while expressing her sympathies with the family of the deceased and the film fraternity.