Friday, February 02, 2007

After crafting a good veenai

Nalladhoar Veenai Seidhe
Immortal lines of the mahakavi or great poet Bharathi is a song of longing of an intellectual mind trapped in a limited body and in a limited society. Whenever a talent goes waste due to lack of society's patronage, I am reminded of this poem.
The latest instance that made me remember this was a shocking letter posted at by a well known literary figure Mr.M.V.Sivakumar. M.V.Sivakumar wrote a number of short stories and novels. Many were published in renowned Thamizh magazines. However his forays into film world inspired by Kamalhassan has not paid dividends and is now left with failed attempts in film making. That is not the point of concern. The worrying aspect is that even his successful writings have earned him a lot of good name with no monetary benefits worth mentioning. Frustrated with the society's ignorance to his writings and to generally literature, he has decided to 'fast unto death'.
I personally do not agree with his decision. I do not agree with what he says are rejections he faces. However there is one thing that is very clear. Even if you are a literary figure, creative person, you cannot make it big unless you have some sort of cinema connection or success. To make things worser, there aren't many good films which have literary depth in their writing. Unlike the english writing which gets patronage of good publishing houses, in thamizh the money involved is lesser and the publishing houses themselves don't make much money to pass on to the writer. While we see a vairamuthu's poetry or a vaali's poetry collection getting a glossy paperback binding, not to mention "kirukkals" of celebrity's that attract huge media attention, a real, 'in it as a career' novelist's work don't even disturb our local press. Unless the media and the people start valuing our writers, the situation will not improve.
I am also guilty to a major extent as I read fewer and fewer books by people who are getting less media attention (I read Jayakanthan ferociously). This letter has prompted me to visit higginbothams in M.G.Road every month atleast once and buy some thamizh novels. I shall hopefully start writing more on them here.

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Blogger Sridhar(mutRupuLLi) said...

One more point which Sujatha (or someone else) made is that quite often the publishing houses do not pay proper money to a writer. They goof up somewhere and generally there are no proper written agreements, royalty etc. So the writer for all his/her efforts does not get any proper remuneration. And the proof reading and quality of publication is also pretty poor. Only houses like Ananta Vikatan, Kizhakku pathipakagam do a decent job. Even century old Alliance is pathetic in quality and spellings.

9:05 AM  

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