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TM Krishna row: Madras Academy 'not to change decision'

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
March 21, 2024 19:22 IST
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A storm is brewing in the Carnatic music circle over the Music Academy Madras's decision to give its prestigious Sangita Kalanidhi Award to Carnatic vocalist T M Krishna this year, which was announced on March 18.

IMAGE: Carnatic vocalist T M Krishna. Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/

A handful of musicians have decided to boycott the Academy this year.

But the Academy president N Murali told PTI that even if more musicians join in, they will stand by their decision.


So far, six musicians -- vocalists Ranjani and Gayatri, Srikrishna Mohan and Ramkumar Mohan (aka Trichur Brothers), Harikatha exponents Dushyanth Sridhar and Vishakha Hari -- have registered their protest by refusing to be part of the Academy's 'Margazhi' festival line-up.

Chitraveena exponent Ravikiran, who had received the Sangita Kalanidhi Award in 2017, but who has not been performing at the Academy since 2018, has stated that he would be returning his award in protest.

"The Academy has seen many such storms over the years and has proven its resilience. Even if more musicians join in, we will stand firm in our decision. This year will be our 98th annual convocation and concerts. The institution is bigger than individuals," Murali told PTI over the phone.

Murali said he had received the letter by Ranjani and Gayatri on Wednesday and before he could send them a reply, they had put out the content of the letter in their social media pages.

"They were not talking about music but other issues. Now, the others are jumping into it without any locus standi," added Murali.

When contacted, Ranjani told PTI that they have stated all that needed to be said about the issue in their letter, which is now in the public domain.

The post published on X (formerly Twitter) Wednesday night, at around 7 pm, stated that the sisters will not be singing on December 25, as scheduled by the Music Academy, because the conference and concerts this year will be presided over by T M Krishna.

According to them, Krishna has caused immense damage to the Carnatic music world.

They went on to state that they object to Krishna's glorification of a figure like EVR (Periyar E V Ramasamy).

In his reply to the sisters, Murali had said he was shocked by both the vituperative content and the vicious tone against a respected senior fellow musician.

He also called out the sisters for posting the content of the letter on social media without waiting for a response.

"According to me, they are disappointed that they have not been awarded. That is at the root of all this," said Murali to PTI.

On Wednesday night, Trichur Brothers too had taken to X to convey -- without going into many details -- that they will be pulling out of the annual conference and concerts of the Academy this year.

When contacted, Ramkumar Mohan reiterated his stand and said if they participate when Krishna is presiding over, they will be 'outright hypocrites'.

Harikatha exponent Sridhar too confirmed to PTI that he will not be performing on January 1 as scheduled.

"Of the 3,000-odd concerts that will happen in the months of December and January, about 10 per cent will be musical discourses like Harikatha. Not only me, but also another Harikatha performer, Vishaka Hari, has also decided to boycott Music Academy this year," said Sridhar.

Meanwhile, Murali said Krishna, even though unorthodox in his approach, is certainly one of the foremost Carnatic musicians today and is a right candidate for Sangita Kalanidhi award.

"Our foremost criterion is 'excellence in music over a sustained period' and Krishna fulfils it, end of story," added Murali.

Despite various attempts, PTI could not reach Krishna for his reaction.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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