Word painter

Posted on January 11, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-20-years-of-thamarai-in-tamil-cinema

This is Thamarai’s 20th year in the movies. The lyricist talks about her poetry, her personal life, her politics.

Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor – “by the creator of Percy Jackson” – is the last book I expect to find in Thamarai’s living room, as I wait for her, watching a stray cat do whatever stray cats do. It is spread open  and placed upside down to mark the page, and surrounded by issues of Nakkeeran and Reporter and unopened newspapers. Later, she tells me that the book is her 15-year-old son’s, but the last time I interviewed her, in 2010, she said she was a fan of Modesty Blaise. One never knows.

Thamarai is in the process of moving, so the living room is in a clutter. But it’s also because she doesn’t throw anything away. She has, from her Vaseegara days, pictures she took with Gautham Menon and Harris Jayaraj and Bombay Jayashree. She has the outlines for the Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya songs in AR Rahman’s voice, from when he sent them over. She has all the awards she’s won, which are so precariously stacked in a shelf in a far corner that taking one out would cause a Jenga-like collapse.

She walks in as I’m eying the awards. I see a Saamy trophy and ask which song she wrote for the film. Idhu dhaana, she says. There’s also a trophy for Thenali, for which she wrote Injirungo, in the Jaffna slang. Kalli adi kalli, from Nandha, was written in the Batticaloa dialect. Thamarai knows her way around the region well. In 1996, she visited the island nation to “start a dialogue,” as she puts it. “Almost everyone, here, had stopped talking about Eelam after Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, but over there, the war was still on, people were still affected.”

Continued at the link above.

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