Deva (Tamil: தேவா) is an Indian film composer and singer. He has composed songs and provided background music for Tamil films in a career spanning about 20 years. Many know his gaana pattu (songs in which the lyrics have little or no substance, written mostly using (Tamil: மெட்ராஸ் பாஷை, English: 'Madras Tamil'). He is widely acknowledged as the 'Father of Gaana Genre' in Tamil moviedom.
Music director Deva has the reputation of having composed music for so many number of films within the ambit of a very short period! He got introduced as film music director through the picture "Manasukkeththa Maharaasaa", in the year 1989. In the intervening years he has composed music for a total of more than 400 films. His son Srikanth Deva is also an upcoming music director in the industry.
Deva, was born in Adi dravidar family to the couple M.C.Chokkalingam-M.C.Krishnaveni. Even at the small age, Deva was attracted towards the world of music. Teaming with Chandra Bose, he staged so many musical programmes. He started learning classical music under Dhanraj and successfully finished a course in Western music conducted by London Trinity Music college.
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. But Deva took special interests for self-improvement in his profession and at the same time he was looking for chances to enter movies. But the benefits of those efforts didn't bear fruits that easily. Only after much hardship he managed to enter the field with the help of some friends and his four brothers. Just after his entry, the production work of those films, for which negotiations were on for fixing Deva as the music director, couldn't get completed and some other films with his music couldn't be released at all.
Deva continued his efforts to knock every polls and pillars for an opening which finally began yielding results in the year 1989. His first film, "Manasukkeththa Maharaasaa" was released in 1989. Even though this film was not a hit in box office he was called to work on the movie "Vaikaasi Poranthaachu". This was a huge hit and Deva was praised for his work. After the release of "Vaikaasi Poranthaachu", his name became a common one all across the Tamil community. After this, he was flooded with offers from many production houses for their upcoming projects.
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 Rajnikanth which helped him rise to the level of top composers in Tamil industry for a brief period.
Famous veteran music director M.S.Viswanathan conferred Deva with title, "Thenisai Thentral" for his contributions.
In 1990, he received his first 'Best Music Director' Award from Tamilnadu Government. He was confined with Tamilnadu Government's 'Kalai Maamani Award' in the year 1992. Again in 1995, the film "Aasai" enabled him to receive Tamilnadu Government's 'Best Music Director' award. For Basha, he got Tamilnadu Arts and Cultural Academy award. He has also been honoured by awards from popular journals like "Dinakaran", "Cinema Express" and "Screen".
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 the alleged lifts include famous Boy band "Backstreet Boys", Pakistani band "Junoon", English band "Sasha" etc. His popularity has diminished since English pop music became more popular among Tamil audiences.