Vairamuthu R

Vairamuthu at the audio launch of Lingaa (2014)
Native name வைரமுத்து
Born Vairamuthu Ramasamy
(1953-07-13) 13 July 1953
Vadugapatti, Theni, Tamil Nadu, India
Pen name Kaviyarasu
Occupation Poet, lyricist
Nationality Indian
Notable works
  • Kallikaattu Ithihaasam
  • Karuvaachi Kaaviyam
Spouse Ponmani Vairamuthu
Children Madhan Karki Vairamuthu
Kabilan Vairamuthu

Vairamuthu (born Vairamuthu Ramaswamy on 13 July 1953) is an Indian poet and lyricist who writes in Tamil. He began his lyricist career through the Kaali (1980) which was directed by I.V.Sasi Debuting in the film Nizhalgal (1980) with the lyrics for the song "Idhu oru Ponmalai Pozhudhu", he now has about 5800 songs to his credit as of January 2009.[1] His partnership with Academy Award winning composer A. R. Rahman has resulted in critical praise, awards, and box office hits.

He was awarded the National Film Award six times for Best Lyricist, the most won by any Indian lyricist. He is a recipient of Kalaimamani, while also winning awards from the Government of Tamil Nadu for his contribution to Tamil literature.

Vairamuthu received Padmashri in 2003 and Padmabhushan in 2014.[2]

Early life and education

Vairamuthu was born to Ramaswamy 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.

I loved and enjoyed, growing Tamil movements of the time, the sweet Tamil of Anna, thoughts of Periyar, the poetic Tamil of Karunanidhi, the influence of great poets like Bharathiyar and Bharathidasan encouraged me to write poems even when I was just ten. I was brought up in a lower middle class Tamil family with the usual poverty, hopes and frustrations peculiar to a Tamil youth. One thing I would like to mention about my younger days. I had a conviction that I was born to serve the Tamil language and it would come within my spell. An unknown voice urged me to go wherever my love for Tamil takes me


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 and 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 BA 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.

The one that was first published was the poem that the Editor of the Pachaippan College Students Journal, Then Mazhai, sought from me. Then I was twenty. It was a viruththam type of poem titled iLa nenjin Ekkam (the yearning of a young heart), published in 1970, Poems are molded by times. A poet of Sangam period had no scientific material to present. He had the opportunity to write on nature. Kamban centered his poems on Bhakthi or devotion to God. It was the basis for that period. The struggle for independence provided the material for Bharathi. His works were molded by that period. Poets after Sangam literature, Kamban, Bharathi and Bharathidasan and after the ascendancy of the movement to hold the Tamil flag aloft, you cannot ignore the impact of contemporary education and knowledge, and science in his works. This is the age of science. Hence the poets of the period have necessarily to sound the voice of science. As the air fills a vacuum, I strive to fill my poems appropriately


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.

Poetry satisfies you always. A movie lyric does that now and then. A poem is a creation inspired by the feeling that is poetry. The one that affects me, the one that prompts me to write, the one emotion that I have experienced; that alone is poetry. A movie song is different. Emotions that are experienced by a character, which are not real, gets into me and writes with that which is real within me and comes out as a lyric. Most of the times, it may not be my real feelings. I write the lyric for a drunkard to sing. In the song, he is under compulsion to justify drinking. That is the nature of that character. That view may not be acceptable to me. It is the demand of the character in the movie. The case of Sita's abduction by Ravanan could not be acceptable to Kamban. If he hadn't brought out the acceptable fact that Ravanan abducted Sita, he would have distorted the epic. Likewise, I present emotions not acceptable in a song. Hence poetry always satisfies me and movie lyric whenever it reflects emotions, is acceptable to me


Notable works

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 and translated into Hindi.

Thanner Thesam

This work is about the 'sea odyssey'. Kalaivannan is the hero; Tamilroja is the heroine. A lot of scientific facts about the sea, water, and the universe are sown in this modern poetry(pudhukk kavidhai). The work depicts the adventure of fishermen's life at sea. "read" (PDF). 

Kallikattu Idhihasam

Kallikkattu Edhihasam (the epic of Kallikkadu, in literal translation) is one of his novels. It tells the agonising tale of a marginal farmer of a riverbed region of the Theni belt in southern Tamil Nadu. Kallikattu Ithikasam" – a confluence of various emotions like sadness, sufferings and depression—crammed his mind for more than four decades. Finally, when it exploded, the natives of 'Kallikadugal' found their biographies in the book. But with a silver lining. The novel won him the Sahitya Akademi award for Best Literary Work in 2003.

Karuvachi Kaaviyam

This depicts powerfully the facets of rural life in a remote corner of our State, was serialised in a popular regional weekly, Ananda Vikatan and won accolades. Owing to its huge popularity, the series was released as a novel

Sirpiye Unnai Sedhukukiraen

A powerful book says about the good mannerism of life and personality development, self-control, aim of life, and each and every part that makes a complete man.

Iduvarai Naan

This is an autobiography written at the age of 28.

Other languages

On 2003, His selected versions of 58 Poems were translated in English by Balan Menon and were released as a book "A drop in Search of the Ocean: Best Poems of Vairamuthu". And which was also translated into Hindi Version Bindu Sindhu Ki Oar[5]

His chosen song lyrics from various film successes, have been interpreted into Norwegian poems by Gowsegan Gowrithas (Kevin Raja Gowrithasan f.1984) The book's title was decided by Vairamuthu himself and was called Good Morning Poetry published in Oslo, Norway 2004. The Hindu.

Other work

He is 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 United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, 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.

Awards and recognition

Vairamuthu holds the record of winning maximum number of National Film Award for Best Lyrics (six times). He is also a recipient of the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards. The "Tamil Development Society of Madras" conferred on him the title of Kaviyarasu in 1986. His Kaviraajan Kavidhai narrating Subramanya Bharathi's life in Pudhu Kavidhai earned him the Bharathi Literature Prize.

Year Award Work Film(s) Notes
1981 Tamil Nadu State Film Award "Vizhiyil Vizhundu", "Kadhal Oviyam" Alaigal Oivathillai
1986 National Film Award All Songs Mudhal Mariyathai
1990 Kalaimamani    Awarded by the Government of Tamil Nadu
1993 National Film Award "Chinna Chinna Aasai" Roja
1995 National Film Award "Poralae Ponnuthayi" (Film: Karuthamma), "Uyirum Neeye" (Film: Pavithra) Karuththamma, Pavithra
1995 Tamil Nadu State Film Award "Poralae Ponnuthayi" Karuththamma
1996 Tamil Nadu State Film Award "Oruvan Oruvan", "Kannaalanae" Muthu, Bombay
2000 National Film Award "Mudhal Murai Killipparthaein" Sangamam
2000 Tamil Nadu State Film Award "Mudhal Murai Killipparthaein" Sangamam
2003 Padmashri    India's fourth highest civilian honour
2003 National Film Award All Songs Kannathil Muthamittal
2005 Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist "Oh Sukumari" Anniyan
2005 Tamil Nadu State Film Award "Oh Sukumari", "Iyengaaru Veetu" Anniyan
2008 Tamil Nadu State Film Award All Songs Periyar
2011 National Film Award "Kallikkaattil Perandha Thaayae" Thenmerku Paruvakaatru
2011 Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist "Sara Sara" Vaagai Sooda Vaa
2014 Padmabhushan    India's third highest civilian honour


As Lyricist


As writer


  1. Video on YouTube
  2. "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  5. "A poet, first and foremost". The hindu. 14 September 2003.
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