A friend of mine came from India last week. He brought along some Ambika appalams and Manga thokku bottles. I threw them aside and got hold of something else which I wanted desperately. Sujatha‘s Selected Shortstories Part II. He gave me a wierd look and said, “Machan Itha ethukku eduthundu vara sonna ? “. I smiled and started reading the first page. He wasn’t bitten by the Sujatha bug. I was, badly.
It wasn’t until I read Nila Nizhal I went gaga over Sujatha. Like Sidney Sheldon, I was thinking Sujatha was a female writer initially. I was amused when (s)he wrote about teenage bloopers in Nila Nizhal. It was just a beginning and it was there my journey alongwith Sujatha started. From the Purasawalkam’s Tana street potti kadai to Tambaram Sanitorium library to Mylapore Azhwar Kadai, I have bought/read/enjoyed Sujatha everywhere. I even carried a Sujatha novel to my first interview. To read when I got some spare time.
As a teenager, I was quite amazed how could realistically write a teenager’s mind in Aathalinaal Kathal Seiveer and that same amazement follows me through the wineshop scenes of Shankar’s Boys. When I watched Enn Iniya Iyandhira on cable, I had the book in my hand to follow it real close. With Anithaavin Kaathalgal, I was convinced that this guy wrote better romance fiction than many contemporary tamil writers. With Kanavu Thozhirchaalai I was sure that my interests matched Sujatha. I read Madhyamar and started worshipping. Roja, Indian, Mudhalvan, Kannathil Muthamittal and Boys continues to say what an interesting dimension a book writer can bring into a movie. I am still positive that my interests match Sujatha’s. What a stupid statement you would think. I am not bothered. But I relate to him so much. A millions of other fans join me. It’s probably this USP of relating to him makes him supreme than others in Tamil writing scene. Just last week, I completed reading his Madhyamar and Thoondil Kathaigal, again, in the bathroom. Though till day, Guruprasadin Kadaisi Dhinam continues to reamin as my all-time favorite of Sujatha.
Why would directors like Mani Ratnam and Shankar go back to Sujatha when they are savvy enough to pen screenplay & dialogues by themselves. When Mani Ratnam shot Uyire[Dil Se] he discussed the story with Sujatha. Sujatha then wrote the story in a novel format. The format was then converted to screenplay and dialogues were written.
Sujatha’s first story was published in 1954 in a magazine named Sivaji. His next story Athirchi was published six years later in Kumudam. So if we assume 1954 to be his official start date as a writer, he completes 51 years in writing.
I probably cannot finish the post as I have a tsunami of thoughts on his writing. So here’s wishing a man whose brains I would wish to own, A Very Joyous Birthday, as he completes 70 years on planet earth. Here’s Sujatha about himself –