Profiles of Lyricist

Vairamuthu Ramaswamy Thevar is an award-winning Tamil poet and lyricist. Debuted in the film Nizhalgal (1980) with the lyrics for the song "Ponmalai Pozhudhu", he has now about 5800 songs to his credit as of January 2009. His partnership with the composers Ilaiyaraaja and later A. R. Rahman have resulted in critical praise, awards, and box office hits.

The ambience of the village is said to have inspired him to write poems.According to him, Tamil and Rationalist movements of the sixties stimulated his poetic zeal. The speeches of Periyar & Anna, the writings of Karunanidhi and the works of eminent poets like Bharathi, Bharathidasan and Kannadasan and the life in the countryside shaped the young poet's thinking. At the age of fourteen, he was inspired by Thiruvalluvar's Thirukkural to write a venba compilation of poetry, strictly adhering to the yappu grammar rules of Tamil poetry.

He joined Pachaiyappa's college in Chennai where he was acclaimed as the best speaker and poet. While in his second year of B. A. and barely nineteen years of age, Vairamuthu published his maiden anthology Vaigarai Megangal. It was prescribed for study in Women's Christian College. Thus, he achieved the distinction of a student poet whose work was taken into curriculum while he was still a student.

His second work, Thiruththi Yezhudhiya Theerppugal, in pudhu kavidhai (free verse) form was published in 1979. He made his film debut in the succeeding year when he set lyrics for Bharathiraja's Nizhalgal. He is strongly influenced by Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats, Khalil Gibran, Firdausi and Nizami. His writings have also extended to genres such as novel, essay, biography and travelogue. In fact, 20 of the 32 books he has published in the last 30 years are in prose.

On the literature front, his notable works include Innoru Desiya Geetham, Indha Pookkal Virppanai-kkalla, Sigarangalai nOkki, Villodu Vaa Nilave and many others numbering to 30. He has also introduced some foreign poets and their works to Tamil in his Ella Nadhiyilum En Odum. Some of his works are translated into Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. The trend continues as hundreds of his film lyrics are translated into Hindi.

He is the Tamil Nadu President of Indo-Russian Friendship Society. At the invitation of the Russian Government, Vairamuthu has visited Russia to participate in an Indian cultural event in 1987. In response to invitations of various Tamil groups, he visited the U.S.A, United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malayasia, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

His works have the underlying themes of humanism transcending barriers of space and race. He opened Tamil schools in Bangkok, Canada and Hong Kong promoting Tamil children living there to develop an interest in learning the language. In 2009, his own album was released in a village in Tiruppur district. This album fully mentioned human activity and death far.

Family Background

Vairamuthu was born on July 13, 1953 to Ramaswamythevar and Angammal of Mettur in a middle class family. When he was four, the village gave way to Vaigai Dam and the family moved to Vadugapatti village, community in Theni near Periyakulam.

Awards & Titles

• 1981    Tamil Nadu State Film Award

• 1986    National Film Award

• 1990    Kalaimamani

• 1993    National Film Award

• 1995    National Film Award

• 1995    Tamil Nadu State Film Award

• 1996    Tamil Nadu State Film Award

• 2000    National Film Award

• 2000    Tamil Nadu State Film Award

• 2003    Padmashri

• 2003    National Film Award

• 2006    Tamil Nadu State Film Award

• 2008    Tamil Nadu State Film Award

• 2011    National Film Award