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A poet at heart

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Wordsmith: Many of lyricist Pa. Vijay’s songs have topped the charts.
Wordsmith: Many of lyricist Pa. Vijay’s songs have topped the charts.

P.K. AJITH KUMAR

Pa. Vijay feels it is his talent as a poet that helps him write lyrical lines for film music.

Pa. Vijay’s eyes light up when he is told that ‘Maduraikku pogathedi’ (‘Azhagiya Thamizh Magan’), a song composed by him, is still frequently aired in Kerala. Tuned by A.R. Rahman and picturised on actors Vijay and Shriya Saran, the song pleases both the eye and the ear. “As is the case always with Rahman, the song was composed late in the night. He liked the opening line, ‘Maduraikku pogathedi, anga malli poo kanna vekkum.’ The song became a huge hit; it is among my favourites,” says Vijay, who was in Kozhikode for a function organised by the Tamil Sangham.

Penning chartbusters

The song is but one of the many chartbusters penned by Vijay. He has written the lyrics for many of the blockbuster Tamil movies over the last few years. However, it is the song from ‘Autograph’ that remains closest to his heart: ‘Ovvoru pookalume solkirathe…’ His mobile phone rings just as he begins to talk about the song; no prize for guessing what his ring tone is.

“It is a song I will be proud of all my life, not just because it fetched me the National Award for the Best Lyricist in 2005. In fact, I am the youngest winner of the award; I was 31 when I got the award. It is a motivational song; it is about why one should overcome all odds in in life and never give up,” he elaborates.

The song was composed by Bharadwaj and sung by K.S. Chithra. The song won Chithra a National award too. Vijay says he worked hard on the song. “Film director Cheran explained the kind of song he wanted and gave me complete freedom and time. Credit is also due to music director Bharadwaj. Although I knew the song would be a hit, I never imagined it would have such an impact on my life. To win the National Award was a dream, ever since I wanted to write for films, but I didn’t expect to win it so early in my career,” says Vijay.

Although Vijay made his debut in 1996 (‘Gnanapzham’), it was a song he wrote for Cheran’s ‘Vetri Kodi Kattu’ that gave him the big break. The song was ‘Karuppu than enakku pudicha…,’ sung by Anuradha Sriram. “The song was a turning point in my career. It wasn’t easy to make a mark as a young lyricist in Tamil cinema in those days when giants like Vairamuthu and Vaali were in their prime. We are lucky that we have always had excellent lyricists; maybe because they are all primarily poets. I too wrote poems at a young age and have read extensively before I began writing lyrics for cinema,” says Vijay.

The poet-cum-lyricist turned hero recently in ‘Njabagangal.’ He also wrote the film’s screenplay. “I have had offers to act before, but they were not prominent roles. I agreed to do ‘Njabagangal’ only because it was my own script. I will continue to act and would also like to direct; it is my dream to make a film based on the song ‘Ovvoru pookalume…’ I feel there is potential for a good movie in the song.”

Coming back to music, Vijay says is looking forward to ‘Enthiran.’ “I have great expectations from this Shankar film. And it was great working with Rahman once again; I don’t know when he will be scoring for a Tamil film next. I have been lucky to pen lyrics like ‘Enakkoru Girlfriend…’ (‘Boys’) for him. The downside of his Oscars is that we might lose him to Hollywood.”


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