Biography of M.S.Subbulakshmi-Indian-Female Carnatic Vocalist

Name: Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi /M.S.Subbulakshmi/ Kunjamma (Family Pet Name)


Known As : M.S.
Born: On 16th September 1916 at Madurai, Tamilnadu
Father: Subramania Iyer
Mother: Shanmukavadiver Ammal-Veena Player
Grand Mother: Akkammal-Violonist
Spouse: “Kalki’-Sadasivam
Occupation: Carnatic Vocalist/Actress
Demised : On  11th December 2004 at Chennai at  the age of 88 years

Young M.S.

Singing&Acting Career of M.S.Subbulakshmi:

In the year 1927,at the age of 11 years M.S.Subbulakshmi gave her first public concert in the “100 Pillars Hall”/”Nootrukkal Mandapam” inside the Rockfort Temple at Tiruchirappali in Tamilnadu.

The 100 Pillars Hall in Rockfort Temple Trichy

In the year 1929, at the age of 13 years, M.S.gave her concert in the “Music Academy” at Chennai.

Music Acadamy Chennai

M.S. Subbulakshmi has  also acted in a few Tamil films in her early days and her first movie  “Sevasadanam” released in the year  1938, with M.S. as the heroine and F.G. Natesa Iyer as the hero and directed by K.Subramanyam became a successful movie of those days.

FG Natesa Iyer

M.S.Subbulakshmi got married to Mr.T.Sadasivam (Co-Founder along with “Kalki” Krishnamoorthy of Tamil Weekly Magazine “Kalki”) in the year 1940.

M.S.Subbulakshmi and T.Sadasivam Wedding Photo

M.S. Subbulakshmi  has played the male role of “Narada” in the Tamil Movie –  “Savitri” released in the year 1941. The movie was produced for raising funds for launching the Tamil Weekly Magazine “Kalki” by her husband Mr. Sadasivam.

M.S. as Meera

The movie “Meera” released in the year 1945 in Tamil had been very popular and was re-made in Hindi in the year 1947and M.S.S. has sung  many ‘Meera Bhajans” in the movie.

M.S. as Meera

M.S.Subbulakshmi, as ‘India’s Cultural Ambassador’ had traveled to London, New York, Canada and the Far East etc and gave her concertr s at the following foreign cities:

  • Edinburgh- Scotland- International Festival of Music and Drama-1963
  • New York, United States of America/USA, Carnegie Hall, the UN General Assembly on UN day – 1966
  •  London, United Kingdom/UK-Royal Albert Hall,-1982
  •  Moscow, Soviet Russia/USSR-Festival of India – 1987

After the death of her husband “Kalki”-Sadasivam in the year 1997, M.S. stopped all her public performances.

M.S.Subbulakshmi and 'Kalki' T.Sadasivam
The following are some of the the famous ‘Bhajans’ sung by  M.S.Subbulakshmi:
  • “Bhaja Govindam”
  • “Vishnusahasranamam”,
  • “Hari Tuma Haro”,
  • “Venkateswara Suprabhatam”,
  • “Vaishnava Jana To”-written by Chakraborty Rajagopalachariar/Rajaji- the favourite bhajan of Mahatma Gandhiji
The following Celebrities had been the Fans of MSS:
  • Mahatma Gandhi-appreciated the talents of M.S.S.,and her efforts in connection with collection of  “Kasturba Memorial  Fund”
    M.S. with Mahatma Gandhi
  • Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru- called M.S.S. as the “Queen of Music”
    M.S. with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
  • “Nightingale of India”/“Kavikkuyil “Sarojini Naidu and
  • Lata Mangeshkar etc.
Awards and Honours Received:
  • “ Padma Bhushan”-Government of India- 1954
  •  “Sangeet Natak Akademi Award”- 1956
  • “ Sangeetha Kalanidhi Award”- 1968
  • “ Ramon Magsaysay Award”-  1974
  • “ Padma Vibhushan”-Government of India- 1975
  • “ Kalidas Samman”-1988
  • “Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration”- 1990
  • “Bharat Ratna”-Government of India-India’s Highest Civilian Award- 1998.
  • M.S.Subbulakshmi was honored as the court-singer/Asthana Vidhwan  of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam / TTD
  • A commemorative postage stamp on her was issued by the Union Government of India in the year 2005.
  • Tirupati Urban Development Authority/TUDA  has installed a bronze statue of M.S. Subbulakshmi at the Poornakumbham circle in Tirupathi in the year 2006.
    Statue of MS in Tirupathi
  • The famous Kancheepuram Saree shade known as “ MS -Blue” was named after M.S.
MS Blue-Kancheepuram Silk Saree
  • In view of the 97th Birthday of the legendary  Indian Carnatic Singer- M.S.Subbullakhmi, a ‘Portrait Gallery’  named after M.S.S. instituted at Shanmukhananda Hall in Matunga, Mumbai, as a tribute to giants in the field of music.
  • At the entrance of the portrait gallery an eight-foot high ebonite statue of M.S.S., holding a Thampuraa has been erected to honour the exemplary Indian singer.
Statue of MS at the Entrance of MS Portrait Gallery Mumbai

In the portrait gallery on M.S.S. photos of her meeting celebrities from India and abroad have been displayed.
The following are some of the notable celebrities met by M.S.Subbulakshmi.: 
  • Mahatma Gandhi,
  • Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan/Frontier Gandhi,
  • Lord and Lady Mountbatten,
  • Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru- called M.S.S. as the “Queen of Music”
  • “Nightingale of India”/“Kavikkuyil “Sarojini Naidu, 
  • Pope John Paul II,
  • Queen Elizabeth,
  • Indira Gandhi and
  • Dr. S. Radhakrishnan.
A letter written by Mahatma Gandhi to M.S.S., has also been displayed in the M.S.S. portrait gallery, which reads as under:

“Dear Subbulakshmi,
Rajaji has told me everything about your good work in connection with “Kasturba Memorial Fund” by using your musical gifts.  May God Bless You.”

The Global Search Engine of the Web World-“ Google” has paid tribute to M S Subbulakshmi by dedicating  colourful “Doodle” on her 97th birthday on 16th September 2013.

"Google Doodle" on MS's 97th  Birthday 16 September 2013

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A tribute to M.S. Subbulakshmi, the legendary Carnatic musician on her birth anniversary | classical music | indian musician | Classical | NTD Inspired
6 years ago

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