Tamil Nadu, India
20 November 1950 (age 73) (
Film composer, music director
Vocals (playback singing), guitar, keyboard/harmonium/piano
Sabesh Chokkalingam, Murali Chokkalingam
M. C. Krishnaveni, M. C. Chokkalingam
Srikanth Deva, Anuradha Sriram, Swarnalatha, Malaysia Vasudevan, K S Chithra
Devanesan Chokkalingam, popularly known as Deva, is an Indian film composer and singer. He has composed songs and provided background music for Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films in a career spanning about 20 years. Many know his gaana songs, written mostly using Madras Tamil. He is known as the "Father of Gaana Genre" in the Tamil film industry.
Deva has composed music for many films within a very short period. He debuted as a film music director in the film Manasukkeththa Maharaasa in 1989. In the intervening years he has composed music for a total of more than 400 films.
Deva was born to M. C. Chokkalingam and M. C. Krishnaveni. Even in his childhood, Deva was attracted to the world of music. Teaming up with Chandra Bose, he staged many musical programmes. He started learning classical music under Dhanraj and completed a course in Western music at Trinity College of Music in London. His son Srikanth Deva is also a music director, as are his brothers, who have formed the duo Sabesh-Murali. His nephew Jai is an actor.
Before coming to cinema, Deva worked for some time in the television field. In those days Deva's brothers were working in the musical troupes of Illayaraja and other music directors as instrumentalists. His first film, Manasukketha Maharasa, was released in 1989. He was then called to work on the movie Vaigasi Poranthachu. After the release of Vaikaasi Poranthaachu, his name became known throughout the Tamil community.
So far he has composed music for more than 400 films, which include Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films. He is also famous for his compositions for religious films. He was widely acclaimed for his scores for Rajinikanth starrer Basha. His other famous compositions include Annamalai and Baasha, both starring Super Star Rajnikanth.
In 2014, Anirudh Ravichander chose Deva to sing a gaana song in his album Maan Karate and labelled Deva as the "father of the Gaana genre".
Veteran music director M. S. Viswanathan conferred the title Thenisai Thendral upon Deva for his contributions. He mostly uses Singers Swarnalatha, Anuradha sriram & Chitra.
In 1990, he received his first Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Music Director. He received the Tamil Nadu Government's Kalaimamani Award in the year 1992. In 1995, the film Aasai brought him another state film award. For Baasha, he got the Tamil Nadu Arts and Cultural Academy Award. Award by Guinness world records for Sivappu Mazhai world fastest movie from script to screening. He has also been honoured by awards from popular journals like Dinakaran, Cinema Express and Screen.He won Filmfare Award for Best Music Director - Kannada film Amrutha Varshini
One of the major criticisms against Deva is plagiarism. He is known for lifting snippets and sometimes even the full song from famous old and recent English pop songs and using them as his own. Some of his lifts include the title track of Baashha being lifted from the theme of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, "O Nenje" from Mugavaree being lifted from Backstreet Boys' "Get Down" and "Oh Sona" from Vaali being lifted from "Susanna" by The Art Company.