Manivannan, Artiste with a Passion and Mission

By K. Thirukumaran

“Does the Wind have rest? Does it have?”

Tamil Actor and activist Manivannan passed away to the deep sadness of his fans and admirers after a cardiac arrest, today June 15.

Manivannan in ~ "Kugulaththil Seethai"

Manivannan in ~ “Kugulaththil Seethai”

Tamils the world over are expressing words of tribute, sadness and condolences hearing the untimely death of one of the great multifaceted artiste of these times. Manivannan was 59. He is survived by his wife Sengamalam, son Raguvannan and daughter Jyothi.

“Rain drop, rain drop it gets together in the earth, Soul drop, soul drop it gets together in sky”

A Global Tamil organization – in the TamilAmerican Twitter feed on tweeted the sadness of Tamils around the globe and said, “Our Tribute to Manivannan & heartfelt condolences to Family~His own starrer melody fitting salute to this great soul”, with a link to a song in one of the blockbusters he starred, “Sangamam”.

Lyric from song in Sangamam ~ “You made me to dance, without dancing ~ First worship to your feet which put anklet to my feet~”

“Stand in your own leg, win the earth, Which is spinning on your head”

The song “Malai Thuli Malai Thuli – Mannil Sagamam” in the film “Sangamam” starring Manivannan though written by Poet Vyramuthu with A.R. Rahman’s music tells the passion of Manivannan in every sphere he touched. “Cloud is for rain, you’re for art, let’s unite and dance” and all lyrics in this song (used as sub-titles in this article) melodiously amplify Manivannan’s words and deeds even after his active roles in the filmdom diminished somewhat through the turn of the millennium.

Manivannan’s political satiric wit is admired to that of great thespian M.R. Radha. Manivannan remarked recently that the references make him feel like winning the Oscar, yet also humbly stating that though he followed the “Radha style” he nevertheless didn’t scratch the surface of great contributions by “Nadigaverl” M.R. Radha.

“Shore won’t get any message if a fish cry in the water”

The actor moulded every genre of his role with a mission of goodwill through his passion in arts and later in socio-political advocacy as well. His early activism is rooted in the principles of Periyar and the Dravidian Movement.

Commenting on partaking with the often “controversial” “Naam Thamilar” movement, Mannivannan said he is an ordinary member giving voice in various platforms as called for regarding sufferings of Eelam Tamils at the hands of Sri Lanka, and not as one who formulated policies of the “We Tamils” movement.

“Oh! Ae Heart! Heart! Don’t die until we win in the challenge”

In an interview aired in May this year Manivannan said that every movie made has its own struggle. This struggle may happen via psychosomatic or economic forms. It could very well be physical or the movie script tough spots and it is the struggle undertaken passionately that overcomes hurdles to carry forward to the end he said. Quoting Fidel Castro, Manivannan said that it is “the need for struggle that harbingers an awakening or innovation”.

Though he rendered his talents in several aspects of movies from script writing, directing and acting in over 400 movies to even singing, it was the position of Director that is his most passionate of the craft, Manivannan said.

Lyric from song in “Kogulaththil Seethai” “Love to you was from Thousands, ~ The bliss you gave Rukkmani”

“There is no failure for art! No Failure!”

In the film “Kogulaththil Seethai” song – “Kogulathu Kanna Kanna” written by Director Agaththiyan to music composition by Deva, Manivannan perennially voices for the song and appears in the final segment of the melody making it even more memorable.

The Tamil moviedom glitters with his epic starrer films such as “Ullaththai Alli Thaa”, “Avvai Shanmugi” to several political satires such as “Amaithi Padai” and can be said he re-ignited a golden era in Tamil films in many ways. “Director” Manivannan’s 50th film Nagaraja Chozhan MA MLA,. just released on silver screens.

“Every drop of my tears will become diamond, diamond”

There was a time I wanted to watch a movie only if it was a Manivannan starrer. I was delighted to see him in person a decade ago at the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA) convention held in New Jersey in 2003. The years’ passing solace that “Manivannan is here with us” however now seems very brief, with his untimely demise. RIP, Manivannan, you live in the hearts of millions of Tamils globally.