M.S.Subbulakshmi- A definitive biography by T.J.S.George :-Reviewq

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Name         – M.S.Subbulakshmi: a definitive biography 

Author                  – T.J.S George
Publisher              – Aleph Book Company 
Number of Pages – 280
Publishing Year   – 2016
Edition                  – Paperback 

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Rating : 5.0

My Review

If you need to get a precise review of this book, read the blurb. After the blurb, there is nothing more that a reviewer can point out. The book is as perfect as the blurb.

There has been a lot of interest in the lives of celebrities especially their personal affairs and related controversies. The biographies published lately comply with this demand and try to squeeze in as much controversies as possible. But this book is about substance and information. An account of the controversies is there but to an extend that the tale of the singer rightfully demands. With a detailed chronological account of the evolution of Carnatic music, author provided a strong foundation to the information about the evolution of music. Author has given a strong, individualized opinion on everything in the history of music. An interesting observation is that the Brahmin domination in the musical revolution that helps in promoting Carnatic music. The observation is in stark contrast to the general notion that Brahmins took the rights of lower caste in music, which was their arena. Had this art form reserved for the devdasis, it wouldn’t have gotten the level of acceptance that we witness now. This observation by the author is unconventional 

Biography of Subbulakshmi is incomplete without Sadasivam. Author has analysed every action by Sadasivam without a tinge of prejudice. Author observes how Subbulakshmi, who was a devdasi, was upgraded to a Brahmin wife, or Iyer wife to be precise. Sadasivam’s insecurity during the shooting of Shakuntalai , regarding the colour of the relation between M.S. and GNB is narrated lucidly. Change in the relations between M.S and her mother is depicted with an unbiased account.

How M.S. enchanted the listeners all over the world, seems like a fairy tale. The books is a fantastic analytic guide of the singer’s life. How M.S arose to a sacred position is meticulously cited. Notwithstanding Sadasivam’s efforts to maintain the confidentiality of M.S’s life and career, author, with his perseverance and determination, managed to compile this fantastic book. 

This review is in return of a free book from the publisher  

About the author

T. J. S. George is a journalist who began his career at the Free Press Journal in 1950 and was the founding editor of Asia week. He established himself as a serious political author and biographer with a series of major books, including Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore, the Life and Times of Nargis and Krishna Menon: A Biography. He is editorial adviser to the New Indian Express and lives in Bangalore with his wife, Ammu.
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