Chennai, March 14 (IANS) The beauty of the Kamba Ramayanam so entranced well-known Tamil actor Siva Kumar that he memorised 100 verses of the 9th century classic and recited it before a highly appreciative audience.
His rendering of the verses penned by Tamil poet Kavichakravarti Kamban is now being released in the form of a 130-minute audiovisual DVD on April 14.
Siva Kumar, 70, whose two sons Surya and Karthi are established stars of the Tamil screen, is keen to reintroduce the country's rich cultural heritage to the present generation.
'The Kamba Ramayanam with 10,368 champagne verses always excited me. I memorised 100 selections within a year and gave a lecture in spoken Tamil to an audience of around 4,000 people in Erode district recently. It will be released in DVD and CD forms on April 14 (Tamil New Year Day),' Kumar told IANS.
Siva Kumar has another ambitious cultural mission - to recite Bharati's version of the Mahabharat.
'I also intend to render similar lectures on celebrated Tamil poet Bharati's version of the Mahabharat in the near future,' Kumar added.
'The mechanical lives that people live today do not give them the luxury of listening to the entire classic; nor do youth have the patience to follow the nuances of our ancient languages. I have merely helped in the endeavour to popularise the epics,' he said.
'Such efforts will help anchor youth with role models of the past and add a new meaning to their lives,' Kumar said.
Siva Kumar said he was keen to showcase the beauty and wisdom of the ancient epics, not just the beauty of the Tamil language.
Srinivasan, owner of the century-old publishing firm Alliance, said: 'Siva Kumar's Tamil book on the medieval poet, titled 'Kamban En Kaadhalan', which was released during the lecture, was sold out even before the lecture ended.'
According to Srinivasan, the book's reprint along with other autobiographical works of the actor - 'Idhu Oru Rajapattai Alla' (This is not a princely path) and 'Siva Kumar Diaries - 1946-1975' - are doing brisk business.
'Idhu Oru Rajapattai Alla' has been prescribed as part of the literary curriculum in Loyola College, a premier educational institution here.
Siva Kumar is a popular film and TV actor as well as a noted stage artist. He is a skilled orator as well as a painter.