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Mani Ratnam on Vairamuthu: ‘He’s fantastic but new talents will keep coming’

At a recent press meet, Mani Ratnam was asked why lyricist Vairamuthu was not invited to the audio launch of Ponniyin Selvan 1.

Mani RatnamMani Ratnam at Ponniyin Selvan 1 event in Kochi (Photo: Instagram/Madras Talkies)

Over the years, director Mani Ratnam, composer AR Rahman and lyricist Vairamuthu have delivered many memorable songs. However, Vairamuthu is not part of Ratnam’s dream project Ponniyin Selvan 1, which is gearing up for release. Several #MeToo allegations – including the one from singer Chinmayi – against the lyricist are speculated to be the reason behind the end of the collaboration. In a recent promotional event for Ponniyin Selvan in Chennai, Ratnam was asked whether he missed Vairamuthu while working on the film. In response, the filmmaker said, “Should I answer this question? It seems to be taking the conversation to a different tangent.”

However, questions about the lyricist keep following Ratnam. In another event, the filmmaker was again probed about the lyricist. This time, he was asked why Vairamuthu was not invited to the audio launch of Ponniyin Selvan 1. In response, Ratnam said, “Tamil has been around for several centuries, and many new artistes and filmmakers keep coming up from here. There’s a lot of wealth in Tamil. As you pointed out, Vairamuthu has been revered by even Kalaingar Karunanidhi (former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister). Rahman and I have used many of his poems as lyrics for our songs. He is just fantastic. However, there are talents beyond him. New talents will keep coming, new writers will keep coming… this change is also similar to that.”

Mani Ratnam and Vairamuthu teamed up for the director’s last film Chekka Chivantha Vaanam (2018), which had hit songs like “Mazhai Kuruvi” and “Bhoomi Bhoomi”. For Ponniyin Selvan, a new lyricist named Ilango Krishnan was roped into pen three songs. Lyricists Kabilan, Siva Ananth and Krithika Nelson have written a song each for the film.

Starring Vikram, Karthi, Trisha, Jayaram, Jayam Ravi and Prakash Raj, Ponniyin Selvan 1, based on the novel series of Amarar Kalki, will be released on September 30.

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First published on: 21-09-2022 at 03:18:13 pm
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