The Kalaimamani Award

Author: Ms Lakshmi

However gifted and talented an artist may be and however rich or poor he or she may be – the real Gift and satisfaction comes when their accomplishment and performance are relished by the audience and appreciated. The crowning glory comes when duly recognized and especially so from their State Government. Kudos to the Tamil Nadu Government in their regular annual festival of awards in the form of the Kalaimamani Awards.

The Kalaimamani awards are given by the Tamil Nadu Iyal Isai Nataka Manram (Sangeeth Natak Academy) for excellence in the field of art and literature. The awardees are felicitated by the Tamil Nadu State Chief Minister every year at a grand ceremony. The past awardees include doyens of Tamil Language Literature, Theatre and performing art. This year witnessed a similar exuberance and participation. The awards ceremony was held on the September 1, 2007, at the Kalaivanar Arangam auditorium, Chennai.

A remarkable feature of this event is the very catholic approach in selections. It is not limited just to the residents of Tamil Nadu. It’s amazing how their vision reaches all round the nation and it was heartening to see among other talents duly recognized, the outstanding Veena artist from Delhi Mrs. Saraswati Rajagopalan.

Saraswati Rajagopalan has been acclaimed as one of the leading Veena artists of Karnatic music today. Hailing from a music loving family, she started rendering solo performances from the age of 12. Initial training was from Smt. Radhamani Sharma of Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer School and was later trained by Sangeeta Kalanidhi Shri. KS Narayanaswami and Shri TS Raghavan.

Saraswati has fine awareness and grip on the idiom of ragas and rhythm, a rich repertoire of classical compositions, and a mind open to new ideas, all of which has given an innovative and interpretative quality to her rendition with a fine blend of aesthetics.  She has received accolades for chaste and scholarly music rendered with maturity and flawless fingering technique. Saraswati’s music abounds in nuances akin to vocal singing – gayaki ang. She has endeared herself to music lovers by her fascinating style, graceful, original and rooted in tradition. Her virtuosity on the instrument, with rich tonal quality has won her appreciation from music lovers all over.

Other prominent awardees during this festival for carnatic Music are Vidwan Sanjay Subramaniam and the vocal melody queen Mrs. (Bombay) Jayashree.

The celebration was marked with traditional cheers and bonhomie. The Chief Minister Kalaigner M Karunanidhi gave a sparkling speech and was distinctly the Master of the Ceremony.