Grand exhibition launched to mark centenary of Subbulakshmi

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New Delhi, Sept 19 (PTI): Celebrating the legacy of Carnatic music icon M S Subbulakshmi, an exhibition was on Tuesday inaugurated by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, who described her as an “unsurpassed phenomenon” in the field. At an event held at the IGNCA here as part of her birth centenary celebrations, Naidu also released a special commemorative coin in her honour. The nearly two-week-long exhibition titled ‘Kurai Ondrum Illai’ borrows its name from one of her famous songs that portrays her journey from her birth in Madurai to becoming a globally celebrated musician, who earned awards and admiration. Fondly regarded as MS, she was hailed as the ‘nightingale of Carnatic music’ and the exhibits drawn from rare archives also delve into her career in cinema. Subbulakshmi had many firsts to her credit, from being the first musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna to winning the Ramon Magsaysay Award, and performing at the UN General Assembly. “She was an unsurpassed phenomenon in the Carnatic music field and perhaps will remain unsurpassed in this generation too. First prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru once told her that he was just an ordinary PM, but she was a ‘queen of music’. “Even Gandhiji had requested her to do a rendition of ‘Hari Tuma Haro’ bhajan, which she did. It was recorded overnight and sent to Gandhiji on his birthday in 1947,” Naidu said. The vice president said, “It is our bounden duty to preserve our culture for the next generation, and the life and legacy of MS should inspire the youth to pursue greater heights.” The exhibition hosted at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) will end on September 30 after which it will travel to a few other cities. “After Delhi, it will travel to Chennai, and later to Bengaluru, Kolkata and Vadodara. The schedule for the last three cities are yet to be worked out. At the end of this exhibition a monograph on MS would also be published,” IGNCA’s Member Secretary Sachchidanand Joshi said. The exhibits include old posters of the films she acted in — Sevasadanam (1938), Sakuntalai(1940), Savithiri (1941), Meera (1945), all in Tamil, and Meerabai (1947), the Hindi remake of Meera. Subbulakshmi’s great-grandchildren Aishwarya (21) and Saundarya (12), who were present during the function, performed MS’s song ‘Enta matramuna evvaru talachina’, as a tribute. “It is a proud moment for all of us. The joy of seeing the exhibition on our great-grandmother’s life, who is still considered an icon, makes us feel proud and humbled,” Aishwarya told PTI. “A couple of iPads carrying her 150 select songs have also been placed in the exhibit area for visitors and an audio-visual centre facility has been set up to screen a short documentary on her life,” a member of the curation team said. The event today was held as part of the year-long celebrations to mark Subbulakshmi’s birth centenary that kicked of last year on September 16, a senior IGNCA official said.

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