Paravai Muniyamma, the noted folk singer in the Tamil industry passed away at her home in Madurai last night, March 28. She died at 83 and is survived by her son and grandchildren. The singer was honoured by the Tamil Nadu Government in 2019 with the Kalaimamani award. Muniyamma was suffering from age-related illnesses for a while.
Paravai Muniyamma: A symbol of Tamil folk music
Paravai Muniyamma was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu and has one son and two grandchildren. Her daughter-in-law who she doted on died in 2015. Muniyamma had been singing from a young age. She used to perform at temple functions and soon was on the international circuit as part of the light music troupe, Lakshman Shruthi.
Music director Vidyasagar introduced her to films. Prior to films, she was approached by renowned musicians and composers like AR Rahman for Muthu. It was Dharani who brought her on board for his film Dhool in 2003 seeing her potential as a fiery actress. Muniyamma played Mundakanni, with brilliance. Her comic punchlines became very popular and she received recognition for her performance.
Muniyamma acted in several films post-Dhool, Kovil (2004), Devathaiyai Kanden (2005), Sandai (2008) and Tamizh Padam (2010). Her last film was Sathura Adi 3500 alongside Nikhil Mohan and Iniya hit screens in 2017.
Not just cinema and music, Muniyamma ran her own cookery show where she would showcase recipes from rural Tamil Nadu. She took care and would explain the benefits of every ingredient and was trying to promote Tamil Nadu's folk culture through her art.
Muniyamma, unfortunately, fell sick in 2016, and former CM Jayalalithaa announced an INR 6 lakh aid and INR 6000 pension scheme for the actress-singer out of MGR's trust. Muniyamma had also requested that the pension continue to go to her son in case of her death. Notable actors like Dhanush, Sharath Kumar and others also donated for her treatment. The Government of Tamil Nadu recognised her contribution to Tamil folk music and culture with Kalaimamani Award in 2019. Her loss is deeply felt across the state.