M K Arjunan, master of Malayalam cinema melodies, no more

He was 84 and suffering from age-related ailments

Arjunan, popularly known as 'Arjunan master' in the industry, set scores for over 200 songs in nearly 600 movies. Photo: Facebook

Veteran music composer M.K. Arjunan, known for his mellifluous melodies in Malayalam cinema, died in the wee hours of Monday (April 6) at his house in Kochi, family sources said.

He was 84 and suffering from age-related ailments, they said.

In a career spanning over five decades, Arjunan, popularly known as ‘Arjunan master’ in the industry, set scores for over 200 songs in nearly 600 movies. Most of his songs were all-time super hits.

His evergreen melodies have placed master Arjunan among the legendary composers of Malayalam cinema like G. Devarajan, V. Dakshinamoorthy, and M.S. Baburaj.


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Arjunan was also known for recording the first song of legendary Carnatic vocalist and playback singer K.J. Yesudas when the latter was just 16 years old and gave the chance to Oscar-winning musician A.R. Rahman to play the keyboard in a film.

Born in a family in Fort Kochi on March 1, 1936, ‘Arjunan master’ entered the world of composing music by giving tunes for theatre songs.

His first break in cinema came with 1968 movie Karutha Paurnami, and there was no looking back after that.

Kasthoori manakkunnallo kaattee, thanka bhasma kuriyiyta, yadukula rarhi devanevide, chettikulangara bharani naalil are among his evergreen hits.

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‘Arjunan master’ worked with the doyens of Malayalam movie lyrics like Vayalar and P Bhaskaan but his collaboration with lyricist Sreekumaran Thampi is rated as of the most popular composer-lyricist pair in the industry.

Though he got awards and accolades for theatre songs many times, the composer had to wait till 2017 to receive the best music composer title in a film.

He received the state award for the song in Jayaraj directed movie Bhayanakam in 2017.

Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, was among those who condoled his passing away.