Pulamaipithan, the veteran poet and lyricist, died at a private hospital in Chennai on Wednesday. He was 86. 

The poet, popularly called Pulavar Pulamaipithan was known for writing some of the most iconic songs featuring MG Ramachandran, the actor and former Tamil Nadu chief minister. The songs written by Pulamaipithan played a vital role in shaping the public image of the actor-turned-politician.

In his long career in Tamil cinema, Pulamaipithan wrote songs for actors across multiple generations, such as Sivaji Ganesan, Rajnikanth, Kamal Haasan, and Vijay. In memory of the legendary poet, Silverscreen India brings you a list of his popular songs.

 1. Naan Yaar Nee Yaar

Pulamaipithan made his debut as a lyricist with this song from the film Kudiyirundha Koyil in 1968, starring MGR in the lead role. Kudiyirundha Koyil, a remake of the Hindi film China Town, became a box office hit and ran for 100 days in theatres. And the song Naan Yaar Nee Yaar earned popularity for the lyricist. The song was composed by MS Viswanathan and sung by TM Soundararajan.

 2. Neenga Nalla Irukonum

From the 1975 film Idhayakkani, the song Neenga Nalla Irukonum Naadu Munnera, Intha Naatil Ulla Ezhaigalin Vaazhvu Munera! (You should be well so the country will flourish; the lives of the poor must get better) was composed by MS Viswanathan, and sung by Seerkazhi Govindarajan, TM Soundararajan and S Janaki. The film was a political propaganda vehicle for MGR, and the song was used extensively in political campaigns.

 3. Aayiram Nilave Vaa

The song from Adimai Penn (1969), written by Pulamaipithan, was composed by KV Mahadevan. The action-adventure film starred MGR in the lead role. Aayiram Nilave Vaa also marked the debut of legendary singer SP Balasubrahmanyam.

4. Thenpandi Cheemayile

The song, a simple lullaby, from the film Nayakan (1987) was sung by Ilaiyaraaja and Kamal Haasan and remains popular even now. Aside from Thenpandi Cheemayile, Pulamaipithan wrote three other songs in the film directed by Mani RatnamAndhi Mazhai Megham, Nee Oru Kadhal Sangeetham and Naan Sirithal Deepavali

5. Kalyana Then Nilaa

Composed by Ilaiyaraaja, the song from the film Mounam Sammadham (1990) is an evergreen romantic number that features actors Mammootty and Amala. The lyrics are notable for their wordplay, with every phrase ending in the Tamil letter ‘la’. The film was directed by K Madhu.

6. Thendralil Aadidum 

Pulamaipithan won Tamil Nadu State Award for writing the lyrics for the historical action film Madhuraiyai Meetta Sundharapandiyan. The 1978 film was directed by MGR, who also starred in the lead role. It has music composed by MS Viswanathan. Apart from Thendralil Aadidum, Pulamaipithan also wrote Amutha Tamizhil, sung by Jayachandran and Vani Jairam.

7. Vedham Nee 

The song from Koyil Puraa, the 1981 film directed by K Vijayan features Shankar Panikkar and Saritha. The song had stanzas with different tunes, and Pulamaipithan’s lyrics and the way his words fit the rapidly evolving tune, won him praise. Besides Vedham Nee, Pulamaipithan also wrote the classic Amuthe Tamizhe that was sung by P Susheela and Uma Ramanan.

8. Ethilum Ingu 

The song is from the National Award-winning film, Bharathi (2000), a biopic on the life of the poet and social reformer Mahakavi Subramania Bharathi. Composed by Ilaiyaraaja, the song was sung by Madhu Balakrishnan. Pulamaipithan’s poetic lines for the song are so good they are often mistaken for Bharathi’s own.