The magic in her voice apart, MS won hearts with the rare humility she was gifted with, says Katragadda Narasayya
During her brief visit in 1982, the queen of music cast a spell on the city. A musical programme of M.S. Subbulakshmi, organised by the Ganapriya cultural organisation, was a rare treat and the news revved up the spirits of music-lovers and film buffs in the city.The excitement was palpable, as people eagerly waited to hear MS sing melodious tunes. TheVijayawada Film Societyseized the opportunity and organised a function to felicitate the doyen of Carnatic music. The society members were elated , as MS was the first heroine from south India to act in a Hindi film. Her impressive performance in Meera was widely appreciated but after that film, she chose to devote all her time to music.
In awe of the singer
I was one of the vice-presidents of the film society. On learning about MS's visit to the city, we made known our intention to felicitate her and also to screen Meera in which she played the lead role. But the print was not available anywhere, not even in the archives. MS learnt about it and brought her personal print from Chennai. It was in a very bad condition. A lot of effort went into bringing it back into a proper shape. The office of the film society was located in a street near Navarang theatre and it was equipped with full paraphernalia and a rewinding unit of its own. MS finally arrived with her husband T. Sadasivam and some other family members who were happy at the thought of watching Meera after a long time. The film was screened on the first floor of Madhu Kalamandapam. A 16MM screen was used in a jam-packed hall.. Nearly 500 members of the film society attended the function to catch a glimpse of their beloved singer.The Hindi version of Meera was screened for the audience. The film had MS appearing in the main role of Bhakta Meera. It was a visual treat for film-lovers who enjoyed every moment of it. The show was followed by an interaction with the singer. Invitations were sent to all the 1,100 members of the film society.Besides Madhu Kalamandapam, Navarang and Alankar were theatres where many more art films like Meera were screened. But watching Meera in the charming presence of its leading lady was indeed an exciting experience and those present on the occasion cherish the moments even today.(As told to G. Ravikiran)