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We all probably know MS Subbulakshmi because of her sonorous Suprabhatams , but the "nightingale of Carnatic music", as she was fondly called, was more than a singer. Subbulakshmi, who died in 2004, was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour. And now, the new generation will get a chance to know her all over again through the new title MS Subbulakshmi – Queen of Carnatic Music , launched by Amar Chitra Katha.
Subbulakshmi, formerly called Kunjamma by her family, was born to veena player Shanmukavadiver Ammal and Subramania Iyer. Her mother, from the devadasi community, was a music exponent and a regular stage performer, and thus Subbulakshmi grew up in an environment very conducive to musical learning.
M S Subbulakshmi – Queen of Carnatic Music talks about her musical journey from her childhood to her fame. Reena Puri, Editor, Amar Chitra Katha, says, "We have done a lot of research on her. Our team travelled to Chennai and Madurai to meet her friends, relatives and colleagues. That research was the basis for our story." Puri also adds that they have given a lot of attention to detail, so that Subbulakshmi's personality would be apparent to the young readers. "For example, there is one part in the story where a young Subbulakshmi has started learning music, and she is so engrossed in it that she constantly sings out loud even when doing her household chores like washing the utensils and sweeping the floors, much to the amusement of her mother," says Puri. She also says that certain aspects of her life, for example, how Subbulakshmi was deeply involved in the Freedom Movement of India, are also touched upon in the graphic book.
The book will be officially launched on December 14 and will be available across India for Rs 50. The illustrations, made by Rakesh C S are clean and simple, yet look vibrant enough to catch the attention of the young readers.