Thoguluva Meenatchi Iyengar Soundararajan is an iconic Tamil singer. He is well known as TMS. He was born on March 24, 1922, in Madurai during British India. He is a renowned singer and an actor. His genres include playback singing and classical musician. He was born to Meenakshi Iyengar and Venkatammaa as their second son. His brother was a scholar. Soundararajan studied till higher secondary. Since the age of 7, he began training his voice. At first, he learned Carnatic music from Chinnakonda Sarangapani Bhagavathar. At the age of 23, he started giving stage performances. He also learned Carnatic music from Arayakkudi Rajamani Iyengar. He performed his first Carnatic music concert in 1945 in Madurai at SathGuru Samajam.
In 1946, he got married to Sumithra. He had three sons and three daughters. They lived in Chennai. He was a disciple of Lord Subrahmanya Swamy and he belongs to the Sourashtra Community. He is famous for his heart touching devotional songs on Lord Muruga and Krishna. Because of his cracking voice and variations in the high pitch, he got rejected by music composers and recording technicians in the beginning. S.M.
Subbaiah Naidu provided Soundararajan a chance to sing five songs in the movie ‘Krishna Vijayam’ in the year 1946. But the songs didn’t get released until 1950. “Raathey Ennai Vittu Odathedi” song from that movie was a great hit, and he received 625 rupees as his first salary. He always had a thought of singing in films in his mind. In 1952, he sang two duets for the film ‘Valaiyapathi’. He got the chance to sing songs penned by famous poet ‘Bharathidasan’. Then he sang two duets with ‘M.S. Rajeshwari’ when Albela got entitled in Tamil. Although his songs gained lots of welcomes, later there weren’t any chances for him. Then he worked with AVM productions. He sang songs in the movie ‘Chella Pillai’. TMS got trained and helped by the music composers in AVM. Because of their training, he was strong to overthrow his vocal obstacles.
In 1954, he had introduced to ‘
Sivaji Ganesan’. TMS had a small talk with Sivaji after which he learned the voice of Sivaji Ganesan. He tried to imitate Sivaji’s voice in the songs “Sundari Soundari” and “Eraatha Malaithanile”. Then he got a chance to sing entire songs in his movie. All the songs were hits, and he became popular. Later, TMS got a chance to sing the chorus in the movie ‘Koondukkili’. It was the movie in which Sivaji Ganesan, and '
M G Ramachandran' acted together. MGR heard the song and got fascinated, and he made him as his enduring playback singer. Then he got lots of chances. In 1955, Sivaji also persisted that TMS should sing for him. From 1955 to 1978, he sang playback for both luminaries MGR and Sivaji Ganesan. He followed unique styles for specific actor and integrated fine with both their voices. In 1957, he performed his first international music concert in Malaysia. Till 2007, he performed lots of concerts abroad. From 1980 to 2012, his both sons who have their voices identical like their father sung TMS songs in concerts.
Most of Soundararajan’s hit songs were composed by ‘K.V. Mahadevan’, ‘
M S Viswanathan’, and ‘Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy’. He also acted in some Tamil films and appeared in many guest roles. He also produced and starred in the movies Kallum Kaniyagam, Pattinathar, Arunagirinathar, and Kaviraja Kalamegam. He earned the title the ‘Uncrowned King’ of Tamil film industry. He was a famous male playback singer in South India. He also sang songs for albums. He worked with 52 musicians from ‘Subbaiah Naidu’ to ‘
A R Rahman’. TMS had the skill to replicate the voices of the heroes he sang for. He also sang Kannada songs. His “Baare Baare Nanna Hinde Hinde” song is still famous in Karnataka. He sang songs with all the lead singers. He sang 727 duets with 'P Susheela'.
He won more than 200 awards such as Padma Shri, Kalaimamani, Lifetime Achievement Award, and so on. He passed away at the age of 91. He died on May 25 on 2013 due to nerve damage. After his death, both his sons are doing his concerts. Soundararajan accomplished as the most versatile singer.
Another Version Of The Bio...
He was born on 24th March in the year 1922 in MADURAI, Madras Presidency, British India. Soundararajan died at the age of 91 in Chennai, India. His full name was Thoguluva Meenatchi Iyengar Soundararajan and he is popularly known as TMS. By occupation, he was a singer as well as an actor. From past six decades he was a playback singer in Kollywood. He gave his voice to many actors in the South Indian films. Some of them are Sivaji Ganesan, M G Ramachandran, Kantharao, N.T. Rama Rao, and Ravichandran . He is a devotee of Lord Subrahmanya. Many devotional songs were sung by Soundararajan. Even at the age of eighty-five, he uses to actively sing for Tamil Film Industry.
His father earned a living from being a Temple Priest and also by singing in many of Marriage Functions. TMS got his training started at the age of seven . He studied till SSLC. Carnatic Music was learned by Soundararajan from Sarangapani Bhagavathar, from the famous Sourashtra High School as a Music teacher. He started performing on concerts on stage at the early age of twenty-three. Liking for singing in cinema grew up with time. He got married at very early age. One of the actors helped him. For a monthly salary of Rs. 50 TMS worked In the Kovai Royal Talkies. TMS has worked for six months in the house of Sundarlal Nadkarni a well-known director in Central Studios, hoping to get a chance in singing.
In 1950 TMS got a chance to sing songs for the films. His one of hit songs was Raathey Ennai for which he got Rs. 650. TMS also got the opportunity to sing songs which were written by Bharathidasan. In 1951 TMS acted and sang for a movie which was directed by G.Ramanathan in Theeraatha Thuyaralley as a Beggar in Devagi .In 1952, TMS sung for Duet songs in Valayapathi. He also got the opportunity to sing a song which was written by Bharathidasan. The voice of T M Soundarrajan is so magical that it still keeps ringing in the ears of the Tamil audiences even now.
He used to modulate his voice for Sivaji Ganesan and M G Ramachandran such that one would feel the difference. Most of his songs are superhits those times. Lyricist Maruthakasi ecommended this talented singer in the year 1954 to lend his voice in Aruna pictures’ film Thooku Thookki. Here TMS and Sivaji Ganesan were introdcuted and TMS studied the voice was of Sivaji Ganesan. G.Ramanthan the music director, was very pleased by TMS and gave him the chance to sing a song for Ganesan. All the song became a hit and he became famous. From the early 1960s, Sivaji started to insist TMS do playback singing for him. Since then TMS was doing singing only for MGR and Sivaji. In Tamil film industry he is recognized as “uncrowned King” for almost 30 years in the industry.