Wednesday, February 27, 2008

RIP - Sujatha


[Pic Courtesy: The Hindu]

Writer Sujatha a.k.a Rangarajan passed away yesterday, leaving a void that is not going to be filled easily. With his short stories, novels, serialized stories, essays and scripts, he had an indelible impact on Tamil and will sorely be missed.

While I used to read a lot of English novels when I was young, my Tamil reading was restricted to magazines like Kumudham and Vikatan and I never tried reading novels. So unsurprisingly, my introduction to Sujatha came through cinema - when he began serializing the story for Kamal's Vikram in Kumudham. The accompanying stills of Kamal were what got me to start reading but it wasn't long before I became hooked on Sujatha's writing. He had a casual, down-to-earth narrative style that was instantly engaging and the conversations between the characters positively sparkled with smartness and humor.

Unfortunately, I didn't stay with Vikram till the end. The lack of instant gratification - one had to wait an entire week to see what happened next and even then, all one got was a measly two or three pages that left us hanging again - made me abandon the story midway. I did try to read other serialized stories - like a Ganesh-Vasanth tale - but never managed to keep my patience till the end. But as they say, we don't have to eat a full meal to know whether the cook is talented! And what I read was enough to tell me that Sujatha was a literary genius.

Ofcourse, even someone who hadn't read a single word written by Sujatha would still be familiar with him from his wonderful scripts for some great movies. Priya and Gayathri were both based his stories though, according to my mom, the films paled in comparison to his original stories and Priya, in particular, was a blasphemy that Sujatha himself disowned any connection to. He had an amazing ability to explain complex or abstract concepts in a lucid, easy-to-understand manner and this was evident from his scripts of his movies. Whether it was corruption(in Indian), multiple personality disorder(in Anniyan) or the origins of black money( in Sivaji), we all knew exactly what Shankar was talking about, in no small part, because of Sujatha. And one just has to listen to the patriotic dialogs in Roja and the youthful lines in Boys served to understand his versatility in penning smart, natural lines. He was on board for Shankar's Robot also and now one has to wonder if anybody else can present the sci-fi aspects of the film as well as he would have.

With Sujatha's demise, Tamil has lost one of its true icons and torch-bearers. May his soul rest in peace...

13 Comments:

At 5:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RIP Mr sujatha...
Mr.Balaji, have u read pirivom santhipom?whats ur take on that? as for me, i thought it was one of the best romance novels that i've read...

 
At 7:51 AM, Anonymous Ram said...

Angelaam Kadamai-ya Meerarthuku Thaanda Lanjam, Inge Kadamaiya SEYYARTHUKE Lanjam...

Sumoogamaa Theerkavendiya Prachanaiya Unge Suyalaabathukaaga Valaravittutu ipo Sappakattu Katreengaley...

Naan Innoothara Kalyanam Pannitu En Paiyyanuku "Munna"-nu Paer Vekka Virumbala Paa...

Rishi, Nothing to worry...Idhu Doctors seiyyara High-tech Sadhi!

Kavalai Padaathey...nee kavalai padarchey romba azhagaa irukke...

amazing to see that all the above, varied dialogues (among so many others) were written by one person...

enaku ungala vida worse, BB...my only exposure to Sujatha (and I think I am poorer for it from what my Amma, a HUGE fan of Sujatha, says about Sujatha's early writing) has been thro films...and I've never failed to notice that Sujatha-punch in the dialogues, be it the amazing attention to detail (the interview scene of Mudhalvan comes to mind) or the sharpness of the lines...

May his soul rest in peace...

 
At 8:24 AM, Blogger CK said...

I doff my hat to Sujatha who mobilised the language and made a riveting read of whatever he wrote !

in fact, he commanded such loyal readership that even his laundry list would be lapped up as eagerly as his lively prose !

Alas, he went away without disclosing the 'Mexican Salavaikkari" joke !

Dear Sujatha, here's wishing you a well deserved rest from a grateful reader who has always marvelled at your skill with expression !

 
At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big loss to Thamizh Cinema and to the literary world. May his soul rest in peace.

RS

 
At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is indeed a sad state of affairs that sane voices like BB & Ram confess to have not read even Sujatha.
No wonder so little was said and written about la sa ra's demise.
sujata- whose prose is quite very simple-kke intha gathi enraal i am sure tamil "Ini mella saagum"
Sujatha's novels and novellas have all been mutilated to various degrees
apart from
priya
gayathri mentioned above
there were
karayellam shenpagapoo
Ithu eppadi irrukku
one movie about kidney transplantation (sripriya- Poyhan? which were butchered.
small screen fared slightly better with
en iniya iyandra
ganesh vasanth ( with Vijay adi raj at least coming to 40% of what sujatha had in mind as vasanth)
being tolerable.
Obituraries even in Tv channels and newspapers went like ivar "sivaji' anniyan utpada padangallukku vasanam ezhuthiyavar!
if Asokamithran were to pass away tomorrow it will be ivar "gemini studios"l panniyaatrinaar!
as an aside how many of the persons visiting this site would know Asokamithran . 10% max I suppose.

Vengayam

 
At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pothan not poyan in the above !

 
At 10:51 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon, no i haven't. as i mentioned, i've read many of his short stories but no novels.

ram, yeah his scripts were superb and had some great lines.

ck, the fact is that even if was just his laundry list, he would've found a way to make it prose :)

vengayam, vijay adiraj played vasanth? was this recent?

 
At 3:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji,

I remember watching ganesh vasanth when I was a teen. Vijay Adiraj as Vasanth and Suresh(80's actor) as Ganesh. Suhashini in it as well.

 
At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Banu said...

Hi
I was feeling terribly low hearing the news. It is still not late reading his scripts.

www.desikan.com has almost a good collection of sujathas works which Sujatha himself has acknowledged.

Have a read.

 
At 8:12 AM, Blogger Srivatsan Sridharan said...

BB,

RIP Mr.Sujatha.

You've failed to mention both Dasa and Robot will be final scripts of Sujatha. That too for Dasa I heard dialogues are by Crazy and Sujatha

 
At 2:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we have really missed a great personality... Had we read about how he felt during his stay in apollo hospitals chennai - it will really bring tears... He had a great courage writing about his bitter experience in apollo
But the thing is- if such a well-known personality had a bitter experience in hospital, just think about the common man....in India... Really pathetic

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger Xathish said...

He lives in my library.....

 
At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear friends,
Please visit writersujatha.com to download pdf version of his books.Iam surprised people like balaji while reading english novels admit that they never read sujatha's novel. Also i could see most of the things in this blog(or many blogs) centered around tamil cinemas.Guys ... sujatha is famous for his writing and not for his cinema screenplay. Writing about tamil cinema alone never feels one that they are still indians/tamilan even if they are in USA

 

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