Delhi honours a national legend  
by Shani 

June 25, 2004   

In an inspired move the Delhi Government through its front organization the Delhi Commission of Women decided to honour Bharat Ratna Smt. M.S. Subbulakshmi with a Lifetime Achievement Award.  The event was organized on 21st June in the Kamani auditorium by NGO Seher led by Sanjeev Bhargava, and the stage was aesthetically designed by Sumant Jayakrishnan. 

The event opened with a lyrical audio-visual presentation created by photo-maestro Avinash Pasricha with technical support by his son Veenu Pasricha.  The AV was an apt tribute to one of Carnatic music’s most enduring and endearing legends. A montage of photos from several archives and Avinash’s own collection, the AV did full justice to the magic of MS.  Two songs from Doordarshan’s recently released CD’s on MS were also screened.  

The Chief Minister of Delhi, Smt. Sheila Dikshit conferred the award. Since MS was unable to receive it in person, her granddaughter Radha Ravi officiated on behalf of the family. In a moving acceptance speech, and in keeping with her amazing track record for putting her music at the service of the nation, MS donated the entire purse of eleven lakhs to a project dearest to her late husband Sadasivam’s heart – the memorial edifice of the late Seer of Kanchi being constructed near Kanchipuram by the Shri Mahaswami Mathrubhuteshwar Trust.  

The Bharatanatyam performance by Priyadarshini Govind on the occasion was highly disappointing. Priyadarshini’s dance does not resonate with the sparkle of MS’ music.  Their genres are different. Her dance is too quiet and subdued, even apologetic! All in all a poor choice for such an event!  

The dancer opened her performance with two verses from Annapoornashtakam. This was followed by “Bhavayami Gopalam Balam” and then “Malaipuzhudiniley”.  The entire performance seemed completely under-rehearsed and ill-planned; two jathis essayed went totally out of gear.