Ninaivu Naadaakkal: Kavignar Vaali; Vikatan Prasuram, 757, Anna Salai, Chennai-600002. Rs. 140

When A poet-lyricist with an illustrious career in the Tamil film industry looks back, it has got to be truly fascinating. Vaali's Ninaivu Naadaakkal, a compilation of articles published in Ananda Vikatan, does not disappoint. The poet's ready wit and intelligent word-play stand out.

The book throws light on some lesser known facts about the wordsmith — for instance, that he has written songs which gained popularity in the Carnatic music circuit, such as Koovi azhaithaal kural koduppaan..

Whether it is about the difficult times he had as a young lad, along with actor Nagesh, looking for opportunities in Chennai, or about the way some of the stalwarts in the industry dealt with him and his temper while getting him to write for their films — Vaali makes his point without any inhibition or reservation.

Vali's character-sketches of his friends and associates as also of the celebrities he moved with are a delight to read, his observations being sharp yet nuanced. It is with a deep sense of gratitude that he writes about the people who have helped, supported, and inspired him.

Vaali also reflects on his bonding with personalities like MGR and and Karunanidhi, bringing out the dynamics of the relationships beautifully. Anyone with a taste for Tamil cinema or writings with a literary flavour and wit will find this book interesting.

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