Johnson leaves back his immortal tunes

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9 Aug 2011
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Noted music composer Johnson, succumbed to a cardiac arrest at 8:30 p.m. yesterday at a private hospital in Chennai. He was 58 when he breathed last. Born in Nellikkunnu, Thrissur, in March 1953, Johnson is survived by his wife Rani and their two children. The last rites of the gifted musician are expected to be performed at his home town Trichur today.

The first Malayalee music composer to receive a National award in the music category and the only Malayalee music director who received two national awards in the music category, Johnson won them for Best Background Scores for the films Ponthan Mada (1994) and Sukrutham (1995).

Johnson began his independent career by composing the film scores of Bharathan's Aaravam, (1978). Bharathan then united with Johnson for his abundant ventures including Thakara (1980) and Chamaram (1980 'Parvathy', 'Palangal', 'Ormakkayi','Kattathe Kilikkoodu', 'Ente Upasana', 'Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam', 'Ozhivukalam', 'Malootty', 'Chamayam' and 'Churam'. Johnson also worked for 17 films with Padmarajan, including 'Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal', 'Njan Gandharvan'. Most of Johnson's outstanding works came in late eighties and early nineties. Apart from film songs, he had also composed scores of devotional songs, especially Christian devotionals.

Johnson also won the state awards five times in his career spanning over three decades. His awards for best Best Music Director include the one for the films 'Ormakkayi' (1982), 'Vadakkunokkiyantram' and 'Mazhavil Kavadi' (1989), and 'Angane Oru Avadhikkalathu'. He had a special ability to combine the indigenous South Indian melodic patterns with the harmonic structure of European classical music, with which he has been able to weave plentiful everlasting melodies through his 300 films as the music director. Though he has obtained no official teaching in classical music, he was able to incorporate the splendor of Carnatic ragas in his songs.

Known as Johnson Master in South Indian film circles, 'Aadivaa Katte' (Koodevide), "Nee Nirayoo Jeevanil" (Premageethangal), "Poovenam" (Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam), "Kanne poovinte" (Kireedom) "Gopike Nin Viral" (Kattathe Kilikkoodu), Madhuram jeevamritha (Chenkol) "Devankanangal" (Njan Gandharvan), "Thankathoni" (Mazhavilkavadi), "Enthe Kannanu Karuppu Niram" (Photographer), "Oru Naal" (Gulmohar) were some of his favorite and nostalgic songs.

Members of the film fraternity, including singers and fellow composers, expressed profound grief at his unexpected demise.

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