Obituary
The 87-year-old singer’s soulful Ammavum Neeye Appavum Neeye from Kamal Haasan’s debut film 'Kalathur Kannama' was one of her popular numbers.
Youtube screengrab

Popular south Indian playback singer MS Rajeswari passed away in Chennai on Wednesday. She was 87 years old.

MS Rajeswari is well known for her child-like renditions in songs like Sundalikum Sundalikum Thirumanamam (Kaidhi Kanaiyiram) and Chittu Kuruvi Chittu Kuruvi Sedhi Theriyuma (Town Bus). The soulful Ammavum Neeye Appavum Neeye from Kamal Haasan’s debut film Kalathur Kannama was one of her popular numbers.

Having recorded over 500 songs, the singer made her playback debut in 1947 with AVM studio’s Nam Iruvar. She was AVM’s resident playback singer. The very next year she went on to record five songs for AVM’s fantasy film, Vedhala Ulagam.

MS Rajeswari mostly performed with legends like TM Soundarrajan, Seerkazhi Govindarajan, AM Rajah, KJ Yesudas, SP Balasubramanyam and has recorded songs in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.

She has worked with music directors like KV Mahadevan, MS Vishwanathan, Shankar-Ganesh, Ilaiyaraaja amongst others. 

Even in the 90s, Rajeswari was sought after for recording songs for child-artists. Rajeswari has also recorded songs for baby Shamili in her films like Dhurga, Lakshmi Dhurga, Bhairavi, Thai Poosam, Dheiva Kuzhandhai.

Some of her other famous numbers were recorded for films like Rama Rajyam, Parasakthi, Rajyam, Penn and Chella Pillai. Most of her duets were with singer TS Bagavathi - Oodi Vilayadu Paapa (Vedhala Ulagam), Ellorum Vaazha Vendum (Parasakthi), etc. She has also sung with LR Easwari, P Suseela, S Janaki, KS Chitra. 

From the peppy O Rasikkum Seemane in Shivaji's Parasakthi to the chirpy Naan Sirithaal Deepavali in Kamal's Nayagan, MS Rajeswari has remained a prominent singer in the industry.

Her last song was for Raama Narayana’s Sivarathiri called Thenaali Raamaa Nee (Nataraaju Haaraani Naagaraaju in Telugu) in 1993. At the centenary celebrations of Indian cinema in 2013, she was felicitated, along with other singers LR Eswari and Jamuna Rani, by late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.