Lost in translation – 1

The following are the lyrics of one of my best-loved songs.

The song is written by Tamil poet, literary genius, Vairamuthu for Anbe Sivam (2003).

(Male)Poo vaasam poorappadam pennae
Naan poo varainthaal
Thee vanthu viral soodum kannae
Naan thee varainthal

(Female)Uyirallathellaam uyir kollum endraal,
Uriyulla naanoe ennaguvaen?

(M)Uyir vaangidum oviyam neeyadi…

(M)Puli saernthu, puli saernthu oviyam,
Ullam saernthu, ullam saernthu kaaviyam!

(F)Koadu koadu oviyatthin bhaagame,
Oodal poda kaadhal endru aagumae,

(M)Oru vaanam varaiyil neela vannam,
Nam kaadhal varaiyil aena vannam?

(F)Yen vetkathai thira thottu, viralaendum pole kondu
Nam kaadhal varaivome, vaa.

(F)Oviyatthin jeevan enga ullathu?
(M)Ottru paarkkum aanil kannil ullathu.

(F)Pennudambil kaadhal engu ullathu?
(M)Aan thodaatha bhaagam thannil ullathu.

(F)Nee varaiya therintha, oru navigna kavignan
Penn vasaiyam therintha, oru nalintha kalaignan

(M)Megathai aimaattri maan saerum malai pola,
madiyodu vilunthaaye, vaa…

As much as I hate the fact that I cannot understand more than a couple  of words of Tamil language, I feel helpless about the fact that there are hardly any translators out there who can translate these  precious pieces of art(poetry written for Tamil cinema) into other Indian and foreign languages without diluting or trans-mutating the essence, the thought, and the sensibility of the poet. I suffer much more from occasionally coming across brutally mangled versions of these poems in Telugu (dubbed versions) cinema.

However, this is a very good English translation by blogger Jil Jil Ramamani.

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