Paravoor Govindan Devarajan (Malayalam: പരവൂര് ഗോവിന്ദന് ദേവരാജന്), popularly known as G. Devarajan or Devarajan master, was a Malayalam music composer. He is considered one of the best music composers for Malayalam movies.
He has scored music for more than three hundred Malayalam films, many dramas, and twenty Tamil and four Kannada movies. Many of his compositions remain ever green classics in Malayalam. His music in the Tamil film Annai Velankanni has received many accolades. Devarajan received Kerala Government’s Best Music Director award five times, among other honours.
Born at Paravur, Kollam district in Kerala, Devarajan performed his first classical concert at the age of 18. He was soon attracted to the Communist movement and decided to dedicate his creative energy to popular music. He joined the once famous drama troupe of Kerala, the Kerala People’s Arts Club (KPAC). The work that brought him to the limelight was the drama song titled “Ponnarivaal ambiliyil kanneriyunnoole”, written by his friend O. N. V. Kurup and composed and sung by himself. KPAC and its members had a distinctive leaning towards the communist ideology, and their dramas played a role in spreading the ideology among the Keralite masses. Through his compositions, Devarajan would cast an indelible imprint in the Malayali theatre arena, especially after the famous KPAC drama Ningalenne Communistaakki, written by Thoppil Bhasi in 1952.
The first movie for which he composed music was Kaalam Maarunnu (1955). He teamed up with poet-lyricist Vayalar Ramavarma in Chathurangam in 1959. His third movie – and the second with Vayalar – Bharya (1962) became a huge hit and made them a popular combination.His music earned him pride of place among those who had strived to earn a dignified status for film songs. His collaborations with Vayalar produced the golden era of Malayalam film music. Devarajan is remembered by prominent singers in Malayalam like K. J. Yesudas and Jayachandran as their Godfather. In fact, it was the compositions by him that brought laurels to the main singers of that age. In 1973, he composed the hit song “Malayala Baashathan” in Prethangalude Thaazhvazha, directed by P. Venu. Devarajan was at one point regarded as the doyen of film music in South India. He was much feared and respected by all musicians and singers of that period, for his sound knowledge in classical music.It might be due to this dominance he had over others that he was widely known as arrogant. But he enjoyed a royal status till his death among the music circles.
Devarajan was the one who used the maximum number of raagas in Malayalam film music. His music embraced different styles with the Carnatic and Hindusthani melody lines meeting folk idioms and Western harmony. Despite being a strong atheist, he composed devotional songs like “Harivarasanam”, “Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil”, “Chethi Mandaram Thulasi”, and “Nithyavishudhayam Kanyamariyame”, which are considered classics in that genre. Also, he is particularly noted for his remarkable ability to blend the words of the lyrics with the mood of the situation in his film song compositions. Most of his hit songs were written by Vayalar Ramavarma and the combination of Vayalar-Devarajan-P Susheela-Yesudas was synonymous with beautiful songs. The Vayalar-Devarajan combine proved the most successful team till the death of Vayalar in the mid 1970s. Hundreds of songs contributed by the team are still part of Malayalis’ nostalgi Apart from Vayalar, he has also given tunes to lyrics by other eminent poets and songwriters like O. N. V. Kurup, P. Bhaskaran, and Sreekumaran Thampi.
A complete work of Devarajan, Devageethikal, composed by himself, has released and the book is published by Authentic books.
Devarajan died of a heart attack at his residence in Chennai on 15 March 2006 at the age of 81. He was cremated with state honours in Paravur, his hometown.