Those were the days: Kavignar Vaali — Tamil cinema’s ‘youthful’ lyricist for over five decades

In mythology, Vaali was a king of the apes — one who could soak up the powers of his enemies as well, to bolster himself. And likewise, young Rangarajan, aspiring to be a caricature artist, took on the name of Vaali — a spoof on the name of the then best-known artist Maali — but succeeded over five decades in a competitive field as cinema lyric writing, going from strength to strength just by adapting himself.
Born S Rangarajan in Thiruparaithurai near Tiruchy, the boy fancied becoming a portrait painter. He drew a picture of Bharathi on his house wall and Bharathi’s tearful daughter, Thankammal would say it was like seeing her father again.

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