The concert, which was visualised, prepared and presented by Subhashree, featured about 20 songs from this vintage source, all of them rendered with remarkable fidelity by a set of six young girls.

It wasn’t perhaps a mere coincidence that the three most popular feminine vocalists in Carnatic music in the 20th century had all figured in some of the early Tamil movies, for there was a strong classical element in Tamil film music those days . In fact, their early association with the silver screen, although very brief, was itself one of the true reasons for their life-long popularity as vidushis in Carnatic music.

And most of the few dozen songs they had sung in those films were such beautiful and memorable ones that they have remained evergreen favourites in Tamil music circles for more than half a century.

Whenever they are rendered well in live programmes even today, they not only revive wonderful memories in the minds of elderly rasikas, but also inspire the younger generations of musicians and music-lovers. And they derive this enduring quality from the excellence of the melodies and the loveliness of the lyrics.

Among these great divas, M.S. Subbulakshmi had projected a vivid image as the lovely heroine singing the songs herself in her movies, while we have no such visual cinematic impressions of M.L. Vasanthakumari and D.K. Pattammal, as they were only playback singers.

But apparently they too had acquired a certain indirect visual identity in Tamil cinema, by consistently singing for the beautiful dancing actors Padmini and Kamala respectively. This interesting aspect was pointed out by Subhashree Thanikachalam in the course of a marvellous musical soiree at Hamsadhwani recenty.

Rendered with finesse

The concert, which was visualised, prepared and presented by Subhashree, featured about 20 songs from this vintage source, all of them rendered with remarkable fidelity by a set of six young girls. Besides teen-agers Sujata, Suchitra, Subhiksha and Pratibha, who were selected from successful participants in Jaya TV’s Sunday-morning talent-search programme ‘Ragamalika’, the group also included young film musician Saindhavi, and Pattammal’s great-grand-daughter Lavanya. The singers were competently accompanied by Jayalakshmi Shekar on the veena, and Venkat on the tabla.

The selection of the evening’s fare included half a dozen songs from the film ‘Meera’ starring MS, and a couple of bhajans bearing her stamp; several patriotic songs rendered by DKP; and some romantic ones sung by MLV. The standard of performance was uniformly high, the music sounding absolutely authentic.

Such excellence calls for enormous talent, great control of voice and breath, and intense concentration; and all the young singers, as well as the accompanists, deserve a handsome bouquet.