CHENNAI: Renowned classical vocalist Sudha Ragunathan, who has been selected for the Padma Bhushan this year, said that she was excited about the honour. The Chennai-based vocalist received the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour, in 2004.
She, along with former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami, are the two awardees from the State for the third highest civilian honour. Talking to CE, Sudha, who is among the 20 recipients of the coveted award, for her contribution to the field of art, said it was a dream come true. “This is such an exciting moment for me,” she said. However, she added that she hadn’t expected the award to come her way. “I never expected that I would get this prestigious award. I had always dreamt of getting it though. It’s a dream come true for me,” she said.
Thanking the rasikas and sabhas for their support, Sudha, who is also a sought after playback voice, said that she owed the recognition to their unstinted support. “All I want to do now is share this happiness with the rasikas across the globe. I would also want to extend my gratitude to all sabhas and organisations, who have approved my merit,” she said.
The vocalist began learning music from the tender age of three from her mother Choodmani. She later came under the tutelage of BV Lakshman. In 1977, after winning a Central Government Scholarship, she started training under the legendary ML Vasanthakumari. She remained MLV’s disciple for about a decade.
Remembering her gurus, Sudha added that she owed a lot to all of them for shaping her as an artiste with their guidance. “My gurus have played such an important part in my music career, and it is because of them that I am what I am.” She added, “It would be unfair if I leave out my mother and family. I thank all of them for having supported me throughout my career,” she said.
When asked about her future projects, she responded, “At present, I am working on the Tamil film Thanneer (directed by Vasanth Sai), which is slated to release soon. It’s for the first time my fans would see me as a music director. The film is based on the novel Thanneer, authored by Ashokamitran.”
Apart from her contribution to the world of music, Sudha is the founder and managing trustee of Samudhaaya Foundation, which has been supporting the underprivileged since its establishment over a decade ago.