With over 8,000 songs in Tamil and around 4,000 in various other languages, this singer was renowned for the melodious numbers he rendered. Hailing from Malaysia, Vasudevan came to Chennai to try his luck as a playback singer and during his formative years, often shared the stage with S P Balasubramaniam, an aspiring singer at that time.
Malaysia Vasudevan was at par with any other playback singer of his time and earned the distinction of being thespian Sivaji Ganesan’s ghost voice after T M Soundararajan. Later, the illustrious music director, M S Viswanathan, took him under his wings and asked him to sing a few numbers. Though one of his earlier hits, Oru Kodai Kaala Katre from the film Panneer Pushpangal, is ranked as one of his biggest hits, Vasu actually shot to fame with his songs from Bharathraaja’s Pathinaru Vayadhinile and Kizhakke Pogum Rayil. With the then unknown Ilayaraja wielding the baton, Vasu sang Aatukutti Muttaiyittu for Kamal Hassan in the former film and thereafter, became a Raja regular with hits like Kovil Mani Osaithannai Oru Thangarathathil, Vetti Veru Vasam and so on.
Vasu was also Rajnikant’s favourite. The superstar always insisted on working with the musical maestro who churned out memorable songs like Ennamma Kannu (Mr Bharat), Singamondru Purappatathe (Arunachalam) and Yejaman Kaaladi (Yejaman). Sivaji Ganesan’s Mudhal Mariyathai found Vasudevan rendering the hit number Poongatru Thirumbuma. Although ill-health had forced him into a state of semi-retirement, Malaysia Vasudevan often responded to requests from music directors. He sung the superhit track Poo Pookum Osai from the film Minsara Kanavu for A R Rahman.
Endowed with a fine personality, Malaysia Vasudevan also stepped in front of the camera in about 85 films, donning character roles and often playing the villain to perfection. Films like Mudhal Vasantham and Amaithi Padai with Sathyaraj, Oomai Vizhigal with Vijaykant, Oru Kaidhiyin Diary with Kamal Hassan were some of his films that fared well at the box-office.