ONV award for Vairamuthu: Celebs condemn jury for honouring lyricist named in the #MeToo movement

Tamil poet and lyricist Vairamuthu has been chosen for the fifth ONV literary award instituted by the ONV Cultural Academy.

The award, instituted in memory of poet ONV Kurup, who passed away in 2016, is awarded alternately to poets from Malayalam and other Indian languages.

Vairamuthu was chosen for the award by a jury comprising Malayalam University Vice Chancellor Anil Vallathol and poets Alankode Leelakrishnan and Prabha Varma. 

This is the first time a non-Keralite celebrity has been chosen for the prestigious award.

Many celebs took to their social media platforms expressing their displeasure in this regard.

Parvathy wrote that 17 women have exposed Vairamuthu's predatory behaviour and conferring him with the award is a huge disrespect to ONV Kurup.

Expressing solidarity with Chinmayi, Geetu Mohandas wrote, "An award in the name of one of our greatest literary figure shouldn’t go to a man accused by 17 women of sexual harassment."

It is to be noted that singer and voice artist Chinmayi Sripaada was one among the 17 women named Vairamuthu during the #MeToo movement in 2018. 

What the jury said about the winner

The jury observed that Vairamuthu has proved his mettle as a poet, lyricist and as a novelist. In a career spanning more than four decades, he has written thousands of songs and poems. 

As a lyricist for Tamil films, he has secured seven National Awards, and has also been conferred with the Padma Bhushan.

The award comprises a cash prize of ₹3,00,000, a citation and plaque.

Veteran filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan is ONV Cultural Academy chairman.

Vairamuthu's response

“I am honoured to receive the prestigious ONV Kurup award. This award, from Kerala, the land I highly respect for its soulful literature, gives me immense happiness. I see this as a crown placed on Tamil by its sister language,” said Vairamuthu in a statement.

Vairamuthu’s first poetry collection was released in 1972, when he was still a student of Pachayappa’s College in Chennai.

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