Recently, reading Unicode standard for Tamil gave me some insights, both cultural and technological. I will first put my understanding / views on the cultural aspect and then come to technical part of it in a seperate post.
ஸ்ரீ is a ligature used to represent ஶ் + ரீ, one of the commonly used forms of ஶ், which is a consonent of modern Tamil primarily used to write sanskrit words. The equivalent devanagiri alphabet is श्री pronounced as shri. If one has traveled across Tamil Nadu, they can say many people will have problems pronouncing ஸ்ரீ. I have heard people calling me “See"kanth, "Stri"kanth. The most common pronunciation I have heard however has been "Sri"kanth which is how I write my name in English. This however changed when I came out of Tamil land and having Hindi speaking friends who used to call me "Shri"kanth. I felt they have stronger MTI just like those who called me "Stri"kanth.
Over a period of time, Tamil people have started pronouncing ஸ்ரீ as Sri instead of Shri. This is a deviation from "old-school vedic folks”(for the lack of better word to stereotype) who treat essence of word lies in its pronunciation. However, extrapolating Tamil’s pronunciation rules (which is only defined for Tamil characters btw), one can adopt a stand to pronounce it the way one wants, i.e either Sri or Shri.
For personal reasons, I have chosen to henceforth write my name in Tamil as ஸ்ரீகாந்த் as against ஸ்ரீகாந்த் as I believe written form is meant to serve as pronunciation guide and ஸ்ரீகாந்த் is close to how my name is pronounced.
PS 1: If you are unable to view ஶ் (SHA) on your screen, you can see the character U+0BB6 in the unicode table. It just means the font you use still doesn’t have a glyph for U+0BB6.
PS 2: In most cases you will not be able to type ஸ்ரீ on your computer (unless you use a Mac) and in the next post I shall write about why it is so, why apple products display ஸ்ரீ as ஸ்ரீ in some cases and how we should try to fix it part of the technical aspect of SHRI SRI