Friday Review » Music

Updated: January 9, 2010 16:01 IST

‘Silpi was my inspiration’

S. Sivakumar
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V. Subramaniam
Photo: V. Ganesan
The Hindu
V. Subramaniam Photo: V. Ganesan

His passion for art turned V. Subramaniam into a habitual sketcher. In the year 1980, he made a pencil sketch of T.N. Krishnan and at the end of the concert presented it to him with trepidation, “What would he say?”

As Sita Narayanan commenced her Subhapantuvarali at the Music Academy, one man was getting preoccupied with his on-the-spot-sketch-work. V. Subramaniam has been a habitual sketcher and has been present at the concert halls in the city, especially at The Music Academy, since 1957 and fondly remembers the pandal-ambience.

He even has his self-assigned seat here inside the auditorium. His kit has these elements - A4 size paper, a lead pencil, his briefcase and his sense of imagination. “Oh! I am not a professional artist by any means,” says Subramaniam.

Memorable gift

“I was greatly inspired by Silpi. Silpi used to visit Pudukkottai, the land of many temples and would draw the sculptures there. I was his keen follower - even an imitator - and this has run me in good stead. I carried this drawing custom into the concert hall.” - Why not I “figure out” the concerts? Subramaniam can play well on the ghatam and ganjira and had once accompanied four artists at Tiruvaiyaru continuously. He is 74 years ‘young’ and firm. A retired Senior Audit Officer from AG's Office he has honed his skills during his audit tours. Another Subramaniam (Musiri) always appreciated his sketches.

This artist obtains the signature of the performers on his sketches and had obtained Musiri's too. In the year 1980 Subramaniam made his pencil sketch of T.N. Krishnan and at the end of the concert presented it to him with trepidation, “What would he say?” But Krishnan seemed to enjoy it and passed it on to his wife and then asked for a copy.

The copy, however, was made over to Krishnan during his Sadhabishegam recently and the violinist cherished it as the most valuable gift he had received on that memorable day.

Subramaniam now gets to the past. M.S. as she sang would shift her head gently towards her left. The captivated audience would also shift theirs. She almost directed the body, mind and soul of the audience with her mesmerising music. ‘Ritigowla and M.D. Ramanathan, it is one embedded into the other.’ - he says and hums a small bit, in his memory. Subramaniam is also a great fan of Mandolin Shrinivas and has a fascination for lec-dems.

The laya level attained by Suguna Purushothaman leaves Subramaniam awe-struck and he has accompanied her on the ganjira. Here then is a chronicler of sorts. All his drawings bear the ‘who-where-when' stamp. The auditor in him perhaps, is guiding his art.


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