You’ve been a lyricist for the last thirty years, but you haven’t made it to the top.
I began writing lyrics in 1978 with Ponnagaram. I wrote the lyrics for all the songs in Ninaikatherintha Maname, thanks to Ilaiyaraaja and Vaalee, who had recommended my name to the maestro. I’ve written nearly 1,000 songs — most of them for films and some for devotional albums. I’ve given hits such as ‘Poonchittu Kuruvigala’ from Oru Thottil Sabadam and ‘Meluru Maman’ from Makkal Aatchi. And more than 100 others… Good writing need not always translate into good opportunities. Certain friends in the industry haven’t given me the right opportunity.
Have you worked with all the music directors?
Yes, except A.R. Rahman and Harris Jayaraj. I’ve worked with everyone from T.R. Papa, M.S. Viswanathan, K.V. Mahadevan, Ilaiyaraaja to the younger crop such as Sirpi and Bharani.
Do you include double entendre in your songs?
This has been part of even our literature, but the prudence lies in being sensitive and handling it aesthetically.
And, English words in songs?
I use them only when it’s warranted. For instances, when the song has a Western influence. I strongly believe Tamil language has enough words for songs.
Are you for remix?
No. It’s a fad these days to play the original number to the accompaniment of English words in the background. I’m totally against this.