T. R. Mahalingam
(1923–1978) was a Tamil film actor, singer and music composer of the 1940s and 1950s. He was known for his melodious songs mostly based on romantic or devotional themes.
From his childhood, Mahalingam used to act and sing in the stage dramas popularly called special dramas. During those days, his closest companion was the famous singer S. C. Krishnan
. During that time, when microphones and amplifiers were rarely available, performers had to sing very loudly to make themselves heard. This was how the early singers like Mahalingam, S. G. Kittappa
, Krishnan, M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar
and to a large extent TMS trained their voices. In 1933, when prominent singer Kittappa died at the early age of 28, Mahalingam got his first chance at film.
In 1937, at the age of 14, Mahalingam got the chance to appear in the film called Nandakumar (which was the third film produced by AVM). The film was based on the story of Lord Krishna
wherein Mahalingam was chosen to play the lead role. However, the film flopped at the box office in all the three languages (Tamil
) in which it was made. Nevertheless the film was praised for its songs.
Mahalingam got his big break in the film Sri Valli made at the height of the Second World War, in which he played the part of Lord Murugan
. The film did well at the box-office and established Mahalingam's reputation as both an actor and singer.