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The Best Songs of Tamil Lyricist Vaali

July 19, 2013 19:31 IST

Image: Parvati Menon and Dhanush in Mariyaan
Praveen Sundaram in Chennai

Legendary Tamil lyricist Vaali -- popularly known as Vaaliba Kavignar (young lyricist) -- became popular in Tamil cinema due to the patronage he enjoyed from the great MG Ramachandran. He is the only lyricist to have survived five generations in Tamil film music.

It is a very difficult task to pull out 15 best songs of a man who has written over 13,000 songs and holds a record in this country of having written the maximum number of film songs from 1963 to 2013.

We make an attempt here. Feel free to list YOUR favourite songs in the message board below.

Sonapareeya, Mariyaan (2013)

Music: AR Rahman
Singers: Javed Ali, Haricharan, Nakash Aziz
Cast: Dhanush, Parvati Menon

Sonapareeya from Bharat Bala's Mariyaan was among Vaali's last releases.

Vaali has also written two songs for Vasantha Balan's Kaaviya Thalaivan on AR Rahman's music. It will release next year.

Ellapugazhum, Azhagiya Tamizh Magan (2007)

Image: A scene from Azhagiya Tamizh Magan

Music: AR Rahman
Singer: AR Rahman
Cast: Vijay, Shriya Saran

Tamil star Vijay's first release with Rahman's music, and his introduction song in the film was a smash mass hit. Vaali did just that with his lyrics. He brings out Rahman's signature thanksgiving line Ellapugazhum Oruvanukke.

The lines Endha Vervaikkum vettrigal ver vaikkume induced goose bumps to the listener, as Rahman himself rendered them. Vijay sure must have been a happy man as it was an MGR-esque song.

Athiradee, Sivaji (2007)

Image: A scene from Sivaji

Music: AR Rahman
Singers: AR Rahman, Karthik
Cast: Rajinikanth, Shriya Saran

A classic Rajinikanth song.

The first few lines included the titles of Rajini's movies from the 1980s, and showed off Vaali's skills.

Munbe Vaa, Sillunu Oru Kaadhal (2006)

Image: A scene from Sillunu Oru Kaadhal

Music: AR Rahman
Singers: Shreya Ghoshal, Naresh Iyer
Cast: Surya, Jothika, Bhoomika Chawla

Munbe Vaa bought Rahman and Vaali together after a brief hiatus.

A beautiful melody rendered by Shreya Ghoshal, it cut across linguistic boundaries with even Nepalese and Bangladeshis trying to render them on various television shows.

Secret of Success, Boys (2003)

Image: A scene from Boys

Music: AR Rahman
Singers: Lucky Ali, Clinton Cerejo, Blaaze & Vasundhara Das
Cast: Siddharth, Genelia

No one thought a lyricist, who was well into his 70s, would be able to come up with lines like Maathi Yosi and ketukko lucku kaal kilo, loss kaal kilo, labour kaal kilo, sethuko bhakthi kaal kilo, hopeu kaal kilo, talent kaal kilo, ellam thaan sethu kattina periya pottalam Secret of Success.

Enna Vilai Azhagae, Kadhalar Dinam (1999)

Image: A scene from Kadhalar Dinam

Music: AR Rahman
Singers: Unni Menon
Cast: Kunal, Sonali Bendre

Vaali collaborated with Rahman for most of Kathir's films.

Enna Vilai Azhage would also be among Rahman's finest melodies.

Mukabla Mukabla Laila, Kaadhalan (1994)

Image: A scene from Kaadhalan

Music: AR Rahman
Singers: Mano, Swarnalatha
Cast: Prabhu Deva, Nagma

A song that shook the country and made the youth go crazy with its beats.

Rahman tuned this thumping number to Vaali's crazy lyrics, much to the delight of director Shankar, who made a grand debut with Kaadhalan.

Vaali clearly knew the pulse of the youth even when he had hit 60.

Sundari Kannal oru Seithi, Dalapathi (1991)

Image: A scene from Dalapathi

Music: Ilayaraja
Singers: SP Balasubramaniam, S Janaki
Cast: Rajinikanth, Shobana

An unforgettable romantic number for people who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, Sundari Kannal Oru Seithi from Mani Ratnam's Dalapathi was an anthem of sorts for couples then and probably still is.

Kanmani Anbodu, Guna (1991)

Image: A scene from Guna

Music: Ilayaraja
Singers: Kamal Haasan, S Janaki
Cast: Kamal Haasan, Roshni

A lovely romantic track from Kamal Haasan's Guna, a movie that embellished Saivite tantric philosophy, Shakti cult and autism, this song remains eternal to this day simply because of the way Vaali and Haasan started the song with a love letter.

Wildly appreciated and beautifully rendered by S Janaki.

April Mayile Passumai Ayela Kanjipochida, Idhayam (1991)

Image: A scene from Idhayam

Music: Ilayaraja
Singers: Ilayaraja
Cast: Murali, Heera

In Kathir's debut film, Idhayam, Vaali proved that not only is he capable of writing romantic duets in literary Tamil or goose bump inducing heroism songs, but also shockingly blend colloquial Tamil and English words to write this song (which became his signature style with several other Shankar-Rahman songs later in the '90s), that went on to become an anthem of the youth in the early '90s. Prabhudeva, who made his first screen debut here and Ilayaraja's voice were just as add-on.

Aagaaya Vennilave, Arangetra Velai (1990)

Image: A scene from Arangetra Velai

Music: Ilayaraja
Singers: SP Balasubramaniam
Cast: Prabhu, Revathi

In the 1980s, Malayalam filmmaker Fazil often teamed up with Vaali and maestro Ilayaraja for his Tamil outings and the result every time would be a stunning melody from the maestro and lovely poetic Tamil that complemented his music beautifully.

Nilave Vaa, Mouna Raagam (1986)

Image: A scene from Mouna Raagam

Music: Ilayaraja
Singers: SP Balasubramaniam
Cast: Mohan, Revathi

The movie made Mani Ratnam popular and this song, an evergreen classic rendered by the legendary SP Balasubramaniam, made every music lover swoon to the lyrics and the music.

Naan Aanai Ittal, Enga veettu Pillai (1965)

Image: A scene from Enga veettu Pillai

Music: MS Viswanthan
Singers: TM Soundarrajan
Cast: MGR, Saroja Devi

Another MGR hit, a rage in those days. The lyrics, apart from being situational and adding value to the screenplay and character in the film, also hinted at actor MGR's political aspirations that was witnessed in the years that followed.

Moondrezuthil En Moochirkkum, Dheivath Thaai (1964)

Image: A scene from Dheivath Thaai

Music: Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy
Singers: TM Soundarrajan
Cast: MGR, Saroja Devi

Moondrezhuthil En Moochirkkum from Dheivath Thaai is still a favourite among MGR fans and connoisseurs of Tamil film music.

Thottaal Poo Malarum, Padagotti (1964)

Image: A scene from Padagoti

Music: Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy
Singers: TM Soundarrajan, P Susheela
Cast: MGR, Saroja Devi

Thottaal Poo Malarum from MGR's Padagotti, composed in the Suddhadhanyasi raaga, is said to have changed the outlook of this raaga.

Rendered by the late TM Soundarrajan and P Susheela, it is still repeatedly played on TV Channels.