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He had a cheerful disposition

Mahesh Mahadevan enjoyed life and loved living. But fate had other plans... A tribute to the young music director who passed away last week.


"TO LIVE in the hearts of those we leave behind is never to die," said Robert Orr. Forty seven-year-old Mahesh Mahadevan, composer and music director, who passed away on October 29, has certainly immortalised himself in the hearts of his friends, admirers, associates, music lovers and film goers thanks to his contributions to the field of music.

Mahesh's foray into the world of music was more by a twist of fate than design. An M.B.A. from XLRI, Jamshedpur, he worked with corporates such as Hindustan Polymers and India Pistons until cancer struck him in the late 1980s. When childhood friend P. Jayendra, one of the founders of Real Image Media Technologies, visited him in hospital and found him somewhat depressed, he suggested that Mahesh, who showed great promise as a music composer in his school and college years, revive this interest and compose music for jingles.

Mahesh soon went on to compose music for over 250 jingles including the hugely popular one for Regaul Blue (Sottu Neelam, Doi) besides TVS Tyres, Apollo Tyres, etc.

Meanwhile, with Real Image Media Technologies growing rapidly, Mahesh was roped in to provide management inputs and establish systems. As Director, Finance and Administration, Real Image Media Technologies, Mahesh did all that and more. Recalls Jayendra, "More than anything else, it was Mahesh's personality — warm, friendly and affectionate with a smile on his lips all the time — that brought everyone together. He taught us how to reach out to people."

From ad jingles to films was a natural transition for the talented Mahesh. As music director, he struck gold with his debut film Nammavar starring Kamal Hassan and won the Special mention award in the National Awards given away in 1995.

Thereafter, he went on to compose music for seven other films including Kuruthi Punal (Tamil) 1995, Preminchukundaam Raa (Telugu), Pelladi Choopistha (Telugu), Padutha Theeyaga (Telugu), the background score for Alavanthan (Tamil), and the yet-to-be-released Vaanam Vasapadum, directed by cinematographer P.C. Sreeram and Janaki Vishwanathan's Kanavu Meipada Vendum.

Says Janaki Vishwanathan, "I consider myself very privileged to have known him, though briefly. His music is wonderful and I am waiting for the world to listen to it. There could be influences in the work of other music directors but Mahesh's music was so unique, it was so Mahesh. He had abundant talent and I feel fate has been cruel in not letting him actualise his potential."

Mahesh's positive outlook to life in the face of illness and his graceful acceptance of it was truly admirable and a quality that his friends remember him by. "In fact, even when he was critically ill, there was no self pity or resentment or fear. He enjoyed life and loved living. He prepared himself for what life would eventually hand out to him and never let it come in the way of his work," Jayendra adds. Mahesh was also involved in career counselling and motivating other cancer patients to face life with the right attitude. He certainly struck a chord in all those whose lives he touched. For a man whose heart was in music and for the rare human being that he was, it was perhaps the most natural thing to do.

SUDHA UMASHANKER

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