Wednesday, October 21, 2009

En Kannin Manigalae

Peppered with maxims and telling anecdotes, Sivakumar’s recent address in the presence of a 7,500-strong student community and stalwarts, at Sona College, Salem, will be an aural treat that awaits Vijay TV viewers this Deepavali. “My only strength is that I have no weakness,” begins the painter, actor and orator, smiling at the apparent paradox. Initially, the flow of his speech doesn’t give you any inkling about what the speaker has up his sleeve. And knowing very well that he isn’t a person who believes in extempore and off-the-cuff allusions you are intrigued. But the ideas that hang loose like unconnected strands of pearls get cohesive and culminate in pithy, thought-provoking messages. The flippancy and light-heartedness of the first half is juxtaposed with the significance of the second.

Thoughtfully titled ‘En Kannin Manigalae,’ the speech is at once endearing and forthright, preachy and friendly, funny and profound. “Striking a rapport with youngsters is a prerequisite if a speaker has to take them along. You have to present yourself as their voice, otherwise they could boo you out,” says Sivakumar. He establishes the connect straightway likening the boys to his sons, and girls to his daughter, after which they are all ears! Dwelling on his life as a painter for seven years, as an actor for 40 years and the present status as a public speaker who wishes to impart positive points for both the youth and the elderly to ponder, Sivakumar underlines the importance of morality, humility, compassion, respect, patriotism and honesty that are bound to take a person places. The event opens with the various portraits, pencil sketches and water colour paintings he’s done. “That segment of my life ended at the age of 23, after which emerged the aspiring actor, who went on to do nearly 200 films,” he says.

He speaks of the greats of yore, many of whom he has rubbed shoulders with, such as A.P. Nagarajan and K.B. Sundarambal. And from Kambar and Bharati to Kannadasan and Vairamuthu, he quotes extensively. The fluency is amazing particularly because, as always, he has no reference material in front of him! Then comes the crux of the speech — a reservoir of pertinent thoughts for youth, which involves issues such as the present job scenario, love and post-marriage blues. So listen to him, enjoy and deliberate upon it. It should be worth your while!

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