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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Expressions with pen and brush _ AN ARTICLE ON POET VIADHEESWARAN


Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Monday, July 10, 2000

Expressions with pen and brush


"EVEN AS early as 1961, Vaidheeswaran had employed an original idiom in his poetry. On the surface, his language seems formal and literary. But as one progresses from line to line, the reader will realise that the poet is unfolding a new world in a totally new pattern of words", writes award winning author Ashokamitran in his foreword to the book "The fragrance of Rain", a collection of poems by Vaidheeswaran, published by Writers Workshop.
This is an English translation of his original work in Tamil. Vaidheeswaran is endowed with multiple talents; he is a poet, a writer of stories, a lyricist, actor and an artist. His stories and poems have been translated into English, Hindi, Malayalam and Telugu. Three publications containing collections of his poems - 'Udaya Nizhal', 'Nagarcchuvargal, and 'Viral Meetiya Mazhai' - and a collection of short stories 'Kaal Mulaitha Manam' have so far come out. Ilakkiya Chinthanai has published his book 'Devanin Ezhuthulagam' on the writings of Tamil novelist Devan. His first poem 'Kinatril vizhuntha Nilavu' was published in 1961 as modern poetry. This was considered a literary milestone. In fact, it is still appreciated and quoted. Vaidheeswaran admits that none of his writings are deliberate efforts of wishing to be part of any movement, but rather an attempt at achieving poetic truth with spontaneous language.
Vaidheesawaran was born in Coimbatore district and he spent his childhood in Chinna Tirupathi; as a young boy he was fascinated by the Servarayan hills, which surrounded the village. Much later when the family moved to Chennai, the cityscape and the ocean offered a different kind of pleasure.
Though he took Sanskrit in school, from the seventh class, he had the pleasant experience of listening to Kamba Ramayanam and Silappadika-ram; he used to discuss poetry with a friend who was studying Tamil. At the age of 12, he, along with his friends ran a handwritten magazine called 'Kadiravan', in which most of the stories and poems were authored by Vaidheeswaran. After coming to Chennai and joining college, when he studied Valmiki and Kalidasa in Sanskrit, he was able to understand the depth and beauty of the language. His college life also gave him a great opportunity to read a number of books. It was around this time that he stepped into the world of theatre. S. V. Sahasranamam, well-known theatre and cinema actor, was his maternal uncle. Between 1959 and 1962, he was with Sahasranamam's 'Sevastage'.
Then Baroda beckoned him. Vaidheeswaran went to M.S. University to the Faculty of Fine Arts to study Museology. The following few years in Madras were a confused period, when he was dallying in theatre, literature and arts. In recent times his forte as a lyricist has come to the fore. Some of his lyrics have been set to tune and sung in Carnatic concerts at the Tukkada segment. More importantly he has written the lyrics, mostly based on Nature and environment, for Sarali varisai, Janta Varisai and Alankaram, which are the starting lessons of Carnatic music, making them more appealing and easy to learn for children, instead of simply memorising and singing the Swara patterns.
He began painting with the encouragement from Kalasag-aram Rajagopal and joined the Madras Art Club, being run at the School of Arts & Crafts.
He likes line drawing very much and has even illustrated some of his own poems and stories in the publications. After a break of several years he has seriously started painting since 1997. He paints landscapes, still-life and figurative compositions in oil and acrylics; but his favourite subject is landscapes, as he loves to see nature in his works. But these are not exactly realistic representations, 'but are somewhat stylised interpretations of Nature. Says he "for me both painting and poetry are equally important expressions of myself; the two branches of creativity help me find my identity more effectively".

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