It wouldn't be an exaggeration to call the late Sundaram Rajam a multifaceted genius, said V Ramnarayan, former cricketer and editor-in-chief of Sruti Magazine, speaking at the Narada Gana Sabha Mini Hall recently. Titled 'Remembering Sangita Kala Acharya S Rajam', the event recalled Rajam's avatars including that of a musician, painter, photographer, music teacher and an actRajam, who is the elder brother of renowned veena player S Balachander, has the credit of popularising kritis of Ko-teeswara Iyer, besides promoting kshetra keerthanas and vivadhi ragas."He was never an Agmark Mylapore maama. He enjoyed smoking cigarettes and eating non-vegetarian food. When he talked toyou, he made you feel like you knew as much as he did. He lived an extraordinary life," said Ramnarayan. "He guided the carnatic community with his rational and logical way of explaining his approach to music," he added.
On the other hand, Lalithaa Ram, biographer, focused on the artistic side of the legend. "He has done many series of water colours and illustrations, which had been published in magazines and books. In fact, the portrait of Sangeetha Mumoorthigal (Dikshitar, Thyagaraja and Syama Sastrigal) was originally created by him, but he never felt the need to patent his work," said Lalithaa Ram. He ran through a few PowerPoint slides, which showed Rajam's phenomenal contribution in the field of both music and painting. He was one of the rare gems who never indulged in self promotion. It's hard to see a wonderful human being like him," said Lalithaa Ram.
Vocalist Dr Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam, who has learnt music from Rajam, reminisced his penchant for effortless singing, "It has been five years since he passed away but I still hold a few memories of him close to my heart. He was always interested in exploring the lesser-known aspects of music. His paintings, which were deeply rooted in culture and philosophy, showed that he was a true performing artiste," she said. S Rajam's son Ramamoorthy felicitated Ramnarayan and Lalithaa Ram towards the end of the event. The evening also saw a music concert by Dr Prema Rangarajan on vocal, Usha Rajagopalan on violin and Kallidaikurichi Sivakumar on mridangam.
— Express Features