Vaali moved to Madras in the 1950s seeking an opportunity in Tamil film industry. In the 1960s and 1970s, he received patronage from actor M. G. Ramachandran and became a successful lyricist, in competition with poet Kannadasan, which he had chronicled in his autobiography Naanum Indha Nootrandum. Vaali has also authored other books such as Avathara Purushan, Pandavar Bhoomi, Ramanuja Kaviyam, Krishna Vijayam, Thamizh Kadavul, Kalaignar Kaviyam, Krishna Bhakthan and Vaaliba vaali. His song "Amma Endru Azhaikatha Uyir Illaiye" is carved in the stone in a temple in Trichy. He wrote songs for M. G. Ramachandran in 63 films and also for Sivaji Ganesan in 70 films.He has written more than 15000 songs in Tamil films.
He died on 18 July 2013 in Chennai following respiratory illness, at the age of 82. He is survived by his only son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. His wife predeceased him in 2009.