Malaysia Vasudevan

Malaysia Vasudevan
Born (1944-06-15)15 June 1944
Kuala Selangor, Selangor, Malaysia
Died 20 February 2011(2011-02-20) (aged 66)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Other names Sathu Arumugam Nair
Occupation Playback singer, actor
Years active 1944–2011
Spouse(s) Usha Vasudevan
Children Yugendran, Prashanthini, Pavithra

Vasudevan Nair (15 June 1944 20 February 2011),[1] known as Malaysia Vasudevan was a Tamil playback singer and actor in the Tamil film industry.

Early life

Malaysia Vasudevan's parents were from Palakkad. In the early years of the last century, Chattu Nair of Ottappalam, Ammalu of Polpulli along with their respective families migrated to Malaysia in search of livelihood. Vasudevan's mother is the second wife of his father. They became labourers in the rubber estates in Rajaghiri estate, Kuala Selangor. After a few years Chattu Nair and Ammalu became husband and wife in an arranged marriage. Vasudevan was born on 15 June 1944 as their eighth and youngest child. Even though he was a Malayalee, as was the case with the majority of contemporary South Indian migrants to Malaysia then, his surroundings in Malaysia was dominated by the Tamil language and culture. As such, Tamil became his language of choice, at school and at home.

Chattu Nair was musically inclined and all his children grew with a natural ability to sing and appreciate music. Malaysia Vasudevan had once said that all his family members, except his mother Ammalu, were singers. Chattu Nair used to entertain the estate labourers by singing. He first started learning music from his father and later on, his brother taught him. Vasudevan started singing on stage when he was eight. Vasudevan was also interested in acting.

When Vasudevan grew up he attached himself to Tamil drama troupes in Malaysia as an actor and singer. The producers of one of his plays, Ratha Paei, wanted to make it into a film. Vasudevan came with the group to Chennai and acted in the film, Raththa Paei. He even sang a song for the film under the baton of G. K. Venkatesh, for whom Ilaiyaraaja was working as the assistant.

Professional career

Playback singer

Malaysia Vasudevan's first major song was in the film Delhi to Madras that starred Jaishankar and Srividya. It was a comedy song, "Paalu Vikkira Padma Un Paalu Romba Suthhama?", for the music director V. Kumar. This chance was made possible by his friendship with the film's producer, Pollachi Rathnam. After that he joined the Pavalar Brothers troupe which was run by Ilaiyaraaja and his brothers.

During a stage performance, music director M. S. Viswanathan heard Vasudevan and gave him a small piece of a song in Bharatha Vilas (he sang for the Punjabi in "Indhiya Naadu En Veedu") and then a song in Thalai Prasavam. His first big break came when Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan made him sing "Kaalam Seyyum Vilaiyattu" in Kumasthavin Magal. Vasudevan was rechristened Malaysia Vasudevan by A. P. Nagarajan in this film.

Later, when his good friend Ilaiyaraaja debuted in the Tamil film industry with Annakili, he was asked to sing in the film, and after "Aattukutti Muttai Ittu" from 16 Vayathinile happened, Malaysia Vasudevan never looked back. Ilaiyaraaja backed him until he became a star singer.

Malaysia Vasudevan has sung close to 8000 songs in his career spanning thee decades, most for Ilaiyaraaja. Illayaraja made Malaysia Vasudevan sing songs of all types and genres. Malaysia Vasudevan performed each song with utmost sincerity and surprised everyone with the range he had.

Soft romantic songs like "Indha Minminikku" (Sigappu Rojakkal), "Vaan Megangalay" (Pudhiya Varpugal), "Malargale Nadha Swarangal" (Kizhake Pogum Rayil), "Malargalilay Aaraadhanai" (Karumbu Vil), "Kodai Kaala Kaatray" (Panneer Pushpangal), "Poove Ilaya Poove" (Kozhi Koovuthu), "Thangachangili Minnum Painkili" (Thooral Ninnu Pochchu), etc. must be some of the timeless favourites of Tamil film music lovers.

Even under the baton of M. S. Viswanathan, Malaysia Vasudevan sang many illustrious songs. "Ezhudhugiral Oru Pudhukkavithai" (Saranaalayam), "Enniyirundhadhu Eadera" (Andha 7 Naatkal) and the super-hits from Billa are just a few examples.

Sensuous songs like "Kanna Thorakkanum Saami", or "Nila Kaayudhu" and emotional songs like "Oru Thanga Rathathhil" (Dharma Yuddham), "Allithhandha Bhoomi Annai Allava" (Nandu), "Adi Aadu Poongodiye" (Kali), "Vaa Vaa Vasanthamey" (Puthu Kavithai), "Pattuvanna Rosavam" (Kannipparuvathile), "Ponmaana Thedi Naanum Poovodu" (Enga Oor Rasathi) all came easy to Vasudevan and succeeded in showing some other brilliant facets of the wonderful singer. His largely folksy tunes sung for Shankar Ganesh are also of inimitable class. In the nineties, he got to sing a few, but most of them sensuous hits, for A. R. Rahman, including "Then Kizhakku" (Kizhakku Cheemayile) and "Monalisa Monalisa" (Mr. Romeo). The famous song "Poo Pookum Osai" (Minsara Kanavu) featured Vasudevan's voice in the chorus part.

He was the king of singing folk songs and songs with a village background, he was the voice behind several of Rajni Kanth's hit songs and he, Malayasia Vasudevan, sang a good number of hit duets with S Janaki.Ilayaraja chose this singing pair whenever he had a folk song or a song which needed some special singing and they successfully made all his works big hits .

Some of the best songs of Malaysia Vasudevan happened at the time when he was considered the voices of Sivaji Ganesan and Rajinikanth; songs like "Mudhal Mariyathai", "Pothuvaga En Manasu Thangam" (Murattukalai) and "Aasai Nooru Vagai" (Adutha Varisu) to name a few.

Malaysia Vasudevan was like T. M. Soundararajan who was content with the popularity achieved only in Tamil. He was of the notion that to sing in other languages he should have known well the nuances of other languages.

Vasudevan worked with many music directors such as M. S. Viswanathan, Ilaiyaraaja, Shankar Ganesh, Deva, A. R. Rahman, and Vidyasagar. After T. M. Soundararajan, he was called as ghost voice for Sivaji Ganesan. His first song was for the film Delhi to Madras. He has sung over 8,000 in Tamil and over 4,000 songs in various other South Indian languages. He has also sung few songs in Hindi.

Malaysia Vasudevan has sung a lot of songs for Rajinikanth. Some of his notable songs for Rajinikanth were "Ennama Kannu Sowkiyama" (Mr. Bharath), "Singamondru Purapattadhe" (Arunachalam), "Yejaman Kaladi Manneduthu" (Yejaman), "Agaya Gangai", "Oru Thanga Rathathil" (Dharma Yuddham) and many others.

He has also lent voice for a few albums, the most notable among them is Disco Disco (1987), a collaboration with composer Dilip (A. R. Rahman) and playback singer K. S. Chithra. The album is noted for being the first album production of A. R. Rahman.[2] Though it didn't become much popular, Disco Disco Vol 2 was also released later.

Music Direction

Malaysia Vasudevan composed music for a few movies like "Pakku Vethilai" (1981) "Ayiram Kaigal" (1984) and "Kolusu (1985).

Acting career

Malaysia Vasudevan has also acted in nearly 85 films. Veteran Tamil director A. P. Nagarajan christened him as "Malaysia Vasudevan". Some of his notable films include Oorkavalan (with Rajinikanth), Mudhal Vasantham (with Sathyaraj), Oomai Vizhigal (with Vijayakanth), Kathanayagan (with Pandiyarajan), Oru Kaidhiyin Diary (with Kamal Hassan), Jallikattu, Thiruda Thiruda, Amaidhi Padai, Poove Unakkaga, Badri,Punnagai Desam, and Kokki. Besides acting in films, he has acted in a good number of tele serials.


Malaysia Vasudevan wrote a book of poems called "Ennam Thondriyathu Ezhutha Thoondiyathu" in the year 2010.

Last projects

Vasudevan's last song was "Happy" from the film Bale Pandiya (2010), in the music of Devan Ekambaram. His last film as an actor Ithanai Naalaai Engiruthaai is yet to be released. The last song he wrote was "Devathaiye" for the film Balam (2009), in the music of his son Yugendran Vasudevan Nair.

Personal life

Malaysia Vasudevan married Annaporani also known as Usha Vasudevan on 26 January 1976. Malaysia Vasudevan has three children Yugendran, Prashanthini and Pavithra. His son Yugendran Vasudevan Nair has acted in many films in Tamil and other languages. He is also a playback singer in Tamil. His daughter Prashanthini is a playback singer. She has sung songs like "Mundhinam" in the movie Vaaranam Aayiram and many more. Pavithra is married and resides in Malaysia. Malaysia Vasudevan has four grand children. Visashan Naarayan and Kishan Naarayan born to Yugendran, Sai Narayan born to Pavithra and Rithvik son of Prashanthini.


He has been awarded Kalaimamani by the Tamil Nadu Government. He is also a winner of Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Male Playback.


Malaysia Vasudevan died on 20 February 2011 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.[3][4][5]

Notable songs


This is a partial list of some of the films Malaysia Vasudevan has acted in.[6]

Year Title Language Notes
2007 Piragu Tamil
2007 Ninaithu Ninaithu Parthen Tamil
2007 Adavadi Tamil
2006 Kokki Tamil
2003 Nilavil Kalangamillai Tamil
2003 Kaiyodu Kai Tamil
2002 Punnagai Desam Tamil
2001 Badri Tamil
2000 Kandukondain Kandukondain Tamil
1999 Pooparika Varugirom Tamil
1998 Dhinamdhorum Tamil
1996 Vasuki Tamil
1996 Gopala Gopala Tamil
1996 Summa Irunga Machan Tamil
1996 Mappillai Manasu Poopola Tamil
1996 Poove Unakkaga Tamil
1994 Pandiyanin Rajyathil Tamil
1994 Jallikattu Kaalai Tamil
1994 Amaidhi Padai Tamil
1993 Karuppu Vellai Tamil
1993 Thiruda Thiruda Tamil
1990 Neesirithal Deepavali Tamil
1990 Engal Swamy Ayyappan Tamil
1989 Dharma Devan Tamil
1989 Annakili Sonna Kathai Tamil
1989 Thendral Sudum Tamil
1988 Therkathi Kallan Tamil
1988 Thambi Thanga Kambi Tamil
1988 Raasave Unnai Nambi Tamil
1988 Katha Nayagan Tamil
1988 Poonthotta Kaavalkaaran Tamil
1987 Theertha Karayinile Tamil
1987 Parisam Pottachu Tamil
1987 Oorkavalan Tamil
1987 Jallikkattu Tamil
1987 Ithanai Nalai Engirunthai Tamil
1987 Per Sollum Pillai Tamil
1987 Kadamai Kanniyam Kattupaadu Tamil
1986 Unnidathil Naan Tamil
1986 Muthal Vasantham Tamil
1985 Kolusu Tamil
1985 Oru Kaidhiyin Diary Tamil
1984 Ayiram Kaigal Tamil
1983 Ethanai Konam Ethanai Parvai Tamil
1982 Nizhal Suduvathillai Tamil
1982 Idho Varukiren Idho Varukiren Tamil
1981 Pakkuvethilai Tamil
1980 Samanthi Poo Tamil
1979 Velli Ratham Tamil
1978 Nenjil Aadum Poo Ondru Tamil
1977 Avar Enakke Sontham Tamil


  1. "Veteran singer M. Vasudevan Nair dies at 67". Retrieved 2012-03-13.
  2. "Rahman pays tribute to Malaysia Vasudevan". Thaindian. 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  3. "Malaysia Vasudevan passes away". The Hindu. 2011-02-20. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
  4. "'malaysia' Vasudevan Passed Away - Malaysia Vasudevan - - Tamil Movie News". 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
  5. "Malaysia Vasudevan passed away - Tamil Movie News". IndiaGlitz. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
  6. "Malaysia Vasudevan Filmography". Retrieved 2012-03-13.
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