Veteran music critic Sri P.V. Subramaniam, popularly known as Subbudu, passed away in New Delhi yesterday. He was in his 90s. He was known for his frank criticism of performances. Average or poor performances could not escape the wrath of his pen. I have been told that his very presence in a concert venue used to instill fear in the minds of the performers.
I have had the opportunity of hearing Subbudu mama speak a couple of times when I was in Delhi. He was very witty and used to have the audience in splits of laughter whenever he spoke. For instance, he once said that he was speaking with a group of ladies who were showing a book to him. One of them apparently told him “Mama, neenga yen spectacles use panna mattengarel? (Mama, why don’t you use spectacles)” to which Subbudu mama replied:“Naan our spectacle maa …. enakku edhuku spectacles !! (I myself am a spectacle. Why will I need spectacles)”.
The saga of tragedies in this year continues for carnatic music. Senior vocalist Sri Tiruvengadu Jayaraman passed away just 2 days back and now it is Subbudu mama.