The sixth Kannadasan Vizha was marked by both light and poignant moments.
A galaxy of veterans adorned the stage at Kavignar Kannadasan Vizha held under the auspices of Kannadasan-Viswanathan Arakattalai at Kumararaja Muthiah Hall, recently. Every year the Trust honours two deserving personalities who had been closely associated with the inimitable poet, lyricist and writer Kannadasan. This year S. Veeraiyya and D.N. Subramanian were chosen for the honour. Veeraiyya had served in Kannadasan's magazine, Thendral, worked with him from the time of his maiden production, 'Maalaiyitta Mangai' and went on to be a part of Kannadasan's brother, producer A.L. Srinivasan's unit. His 'Thiraiyulagam Oru Samuthiram' was serialised for 25 weeks in Thughlak before it was published as a book.
Director S.P. Muthuraman, who introduced the awardees, added levity to the proceedings.
"Veeraiyya has worked as production manager for both ALS and Kannadasan for more than 25 years. Those of us who are in cinema know that it's the most thankless job, because slips from the slightest to the significant are blamed on the production manager, who bears the brunt of frayed tempers on and off the sets. Please put your hands together for him, he deserves it," he said.
While on D.N. Subramanian, Muthuraman noted that he was an asset to a production house. Kannadasan and ALS knew his potential only too well and for long years he served them. From budget to viability and from the process of making a film to its distribution, DNS had the figures on his fingertips. "Little wonder then that Kamal Haasan, the talent spotter, brought him to Rajkamal and made him a pillar of the production firm," he informed.
"I learnt administration from ALS, and from Kannadasan to Kamal Haasan, my 58-year old career has been rewarding," said DNS in his acceptance speech.
Rightly did Nellai Jayantha, who emceed the show, refer to the lyricist nonpareil as 'Rajakuyil.' Incidentally, Jayantha's introduction for every speaker was remarkable for its wit and play on words!
A.C. Shanmugam, Chancellor, Dr. MGR University, Maduravoyal, the chief guest of the evening, honoured the recipients. Shanmugam extolled the poetic prowess of Kannadasan and said, "Even 10 songs of his can offer more food for thought than probably any great literary work. It was Kannadasan's lyric verse, 'Veedu Varai Uravu,' which has goaded me into serving the cause of the needy and the deserving," he said as he assured a sum a of Rs.1 lakh to the Trust and henceforth a purse of Rs. 25,000 for every person chosen to be honoured by the Trust.
The applause for his well meaning speech was long and genuine. The other doyens present included Dr. Meena Muthiah who inaugurated the event, Mrs. YGP, AVM. Saravanan, actor Manorama and writer Sivasankari.
Aadhavan, the voluble mega TV anchor, proposed the vote of thanks.
Prior to Shobana Ramesh's dance show of Kannadasan's songs came a special address from Suki Sivam. The stentorian voice of the seasoned orator imbued the hall with energy. He quoted from Kannadasan's writings and lyric verses and describing him as an embodiment of plain speak, went beyond the superficial meanings to deduce the underlying messages in his works. The audience was in raptures. Thus the speech was a cascade of high thoughts and witty observations, though at times Sivam chose to punctuate it with barbs that targeted a community - unwarranted deviations, you could say, and considering the kind of cosmopolitan audience present, irrelevant too!
Whenever it comes to talking about his soul mate Kannadasan, M.S. Viswanathan gets emotional. On the occasion, looking a little exhausted, he uttered a few words