"Lyrics should reflect the life and culture of the people"

At a time when many long for making the debut in celluloid world, he has made up his mind to retire from it for a cause to protect Tamil culture and propagate its ancient art in the form of folk songs. Nevertheless, during his brief stint in Tamil filmdom he has left behind lyrics, which have proved to be popular numbers. Arivumathi shares his thoughts with M. Balaganessin about his future plans.

Most of you should have been attracted by the melody, tune and above all the literary content of his lyrics. With a typical rural background, his diction and theme are based on what he had learnt during his boyhood through folk songs in farms in the then South Arcot district (now Cuddalore district) from where he hails.

"Kavithaiyae theriyuma" (in the film Jeyam); "Engae sellum indha padhai" (Saethu); "Deepangal paesum" (Devathai) are some of his popular songs.

Even while stepping on the ladder of a popular career, he realised a conflict within himself. He confesses that in the film world, he could not achieve what he really aspired for. "Lewd scenes and sequences demeaning women hurt me. At one stage, I felt my lyrics too succumbed to commercial significance much against my aptitude" he says.

Mr. Arivumathi says that the vibrant culture of our country lay in the folk songs. He attributes all his success to what he had learnt from the songs the women agricultural labourers used to sing. Many are unable to sing any folk song on `thalattu' or `oppari.' He has determined to popularise these songs amidst the youths of Government colleges. He attributes all his success to the poor agricultural women labourers whom he had heard singing in agricultural fields.

"It is not the degree certificate that taught me Tamil and Tamil music," he says.

Expressing his regard for U.Ve. Swaminatha Iyer, he fondly remembers how the `Tamizh Thatha' retrieved the ancient literature dating back to the Sangam era. But, Tamil scholars had failed to popularise the treasure among the masses. In his opinion, lyrics should reflect the life and culture of the people. "That ideology brought success to Pattukottai Kalyanasundaram, Udumalai Narayana Kavi," he says.

About his future plans, he says that he has at least four value-based stories, which can revolutionise the Tamil film world. He has been awaiting a competent producer capable of carrying out his plan.

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