The 10 Kaviyarasar Kannadasan Vizha was another worthy tribute to the great poet-writer.

Typical of that genius called Kannadasan, was his ability to convey sublime truths, high philosophies and altruistic thoughts in absolutely simple words. “Aphorisms were understood easily by the common man because Kannadasan served them in colloquial tongue,” said Avvai Natarajan, in his chief-guest address at the 10 Kaviyarasar Kanndasan Vizha, organised by Kannadasan-Viswanathan Trust, at Kumararaja Muthiah Hall. “I have 150 lines from Kannadasan’s repertoire of film songs before me to exemplify the point.”

Prominent names on Chennai’s culture circuit – Nalli Kuppuswamy Chetty, M. Murali, AVM Saravanan and Dr. Kumararani Meena Muthiah -- were on the dais that heaped laurels on Kannadasan, the evergreen writer! And of course, M.S. Viswanathan, the ace composer, whose popularity transcends time, was part of it. The proscenium also saw a confluence of eminent orators and effective speakers, including Tamizharuvi Manian. It was a well-conducted event, with director S.P. Muthuraman overseeing the arrangements.

This year, the recipients of the Kaviarasar Award were Panchu Arunachalam and Arasu Nachiappan. “Kannadasan would dictate the lyrics and I would write them down. It wasn’t easy to keep pace with his thought process, but I found a way out. I would note down the first letter of every word of the lyric as he said them and I would fill up the gaps later. And out of the 4500 songs I wrote down for him, only twice did mistakes occur,” recalled Panchu Arunachalam, amidst applause.

Strong ideals

In a clear and strident voice, Arasu Nachiappan remembered Kannadasan’s last days at Detroit, where he was with the poet till the end. He threw light on the influence of Kannadasan, the man who scaled to the top, not merely because of his penning prowess but because of his strong ideals. The ordeal of the journey back home, as Nachiappan narrated it, was touching.

Beginning this year, the Trust has begun to conduct poetry, essay writing and oratorical competitions for students of schools and colleges, on Kannadasan’s works. The competitions were held at Children’s Garden Higher Secondary School. Fifteen young winners at the competitions received cash prizes that evening. A purposeful move that should encourage youngsters to read and imbibe the literary great’s works that extend far beyond the meaningful lyrics he wrote for films!

And that’s the point that Tamizharuvi Manian, a noteworthy exponent of Tamil literature and an ardent lover of Kannadasan’s works, reiterated. “Don’t confine him to film lyrics. He traversed an expanse that was vast. To know the real Kannadasan, read his poetry, essays and treatises,” he exhorted the crowd. “He was a unique and fearless writer who had strong views, both as anatheist and later on as atheist. Introspection and self-analysis were his forte. Honest about his strengths, failures, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies, he’s comparable to Subramania Bharati,” he said. Slight sarcasms and light innuendos lent ample levity to Manian’s gripping talk.

The evening was a nostalgic trip to the Kannadasan era – an era that will ever remain glorious in the annals of Tamil literature.

As MSVs light music show began with ‘Pullanguzhal Kodutha Moongilgale,’ the evergreen devotional from the Kannadasan-MSV combo, wafted through your ears, you relaxed, satisfied that it was an evening well-spent.