I wrote ‘Vaseegara’ in no time
What was it like to make an entry into Tamil cinema as a female lyricist?
I came in as a lyricist and just happened to be a female. Since people were not used to seeing a female lyricist, they were not even ready to believe I could pen songs. Even after my first break in Iniyavale in 1997, I had to prove myself for four years till I got to write ‘Vaseegara’ in 2000.
Why aren’t there more female lyricists in the industry?
You need to have a natural flair for writing songs. In cinema, the difficult part is getting a chance to write. Normally, girls are expected to settle down in life and not go after unknown directors or music directors, begging for a chance. Then the pressure to prove yourself, the bad name you are likely to get, the temptation to write lewd numbers… Whew… only a woman, who is extraordinarily talented and extremely strong-willed, can dream big and succeed!
Is gender an advantage or disadvantage in your case?
Neither. I’m now looked at as only a lyricist. Earlier, it was a big disadvantage. Even the songs I wrote were often rejected as they were looked at from a male perspective. It was after my songs started topping the charts, this attitude began to change.
Are you comfortable writing sex-based lyrics?
My lyrics are extremely decent even if the situations are ‘sex-based’. I have written first night songs such as ‘Ondra Rendaa Aasaigal’ (Kakka Kakka). Nobody ever complained about them. It’s my policy not to write obscene lyrics and not to mix English words.
Can you mention a song that took the longest and the shortest time to pen?
I used to take days and days for some songs. For instance, ‘Kalli Adi Kalli’ in director Bala’s Nanda where I had to use Batticaloa slang. Though I was fluent in Eelam slang, I found it difficult to pen the lyrics to suit the tune. Another one is ‘Injirungo’ in Thenali. It demanded Jaffna slang. If the tune is simple and made to suit the situation, writing the lyrics will be easy. I wrote ‘Vaseegara’ in no time — just two days.
S. R. ASHOK KUMAR