Sudha Ragunathan

In her conversation with Sruti, the Sangita Kalanidhi designate traced her career briefly, from her early days with her guru M.L. Vasanthakumari, through the period that followed MLV’s death, to her present status as one of the most popular stars of Carnatic music. She exudes an air of confidence tempered by her innate humility and friendliness. While acknowledging the need to reflect and introspect after achieving the pinnacle in Carnatic music in terms of recognition, she did speak of the vast learning ahead of her, mainly by adding to her repertoire and improving her technical prowess as in the area of ragam-tanam-pallavi. 

What does this award mean to you?

It means everything. It gives you the angeekaram, it is the seal of approval – that you have been moving in the right direction, and gives you that responsibility and frame of mind to pursue it further. It asserts, “You have been on the right path, travelling towards a goal, and here we are to recognise that.” It gives me greater happiness, because the year I was awarded the scholarship to go to study with MLV Amma was the year she was made Sangita Kalanidhi – in 1977. I was there looking at her with stars in my eyes at the Music Academy. We don’t work towards awards, but we try to do things the right way. In this journey, the kutcheri is a test every time.