Writing a tribute on social media, G. Venkata Raman says, ‘If one needed an example of commitment, one could find it in Subhashini Chandrasekaran. Just two days after giving birth to her second child, she went to Delhi to conduct the nattuvangam for Vyjayanthimala Bali’s Bharatanatyam recital. When the programme ended, Vyjayanthimala made the announcement about Subhashini’s condition, which earned her a standing ovation. Her mother-in-law, who supported and encouraged her to go to Delhi, took care of the baby.’
Subhashini hailed from families that have been deeply involved with Bharatanatyam for generations. Subhashini and her husband Chandrasekharan both are employed with the Annamalai University, Chidambaram, and teach private students there and did so during weekends in Chennai.
Subhashini learnt dance from her grandmother T. K. Rajalakshmi. She had her arangetram when she was in Std.9. After completing Std 12, she got married to Chandrasekaran. Her in-laws, Thanjai Arunachalam Pillai and Jayalakshmi Arunachalam, were dance teachers/nattuvanars. They, and her grandmother, were disciples of Thanjavur Pichaiah Pillai, so it was easy for Subhashini to continue her lessons without any clash of styles.
Subhashini joined the College of Carnatic Music and got a diploma in Nattuvangam, even as she completed her B.A. economics from Queen Mary’s College, Chennai.
A Central Government scholarship for nattuvangam under Indira Rajan and another scholarship from the Tamil Nadu Iyal Isai Nataka Mandram came as bonuses. Through her studying years, she conducted nattuvangam for many leading dancers, especially Vyjayanthimala, with whom she travelled to the U.S.
Subhashini had students from the U.K., Switzerland and Singapore, as well as many from Chennai, Mayavaram and other cities.
When they were ready for their arangetram, she would be there to conduct their nattuvangam.
The couple’s son Dineshkumar is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and daughter Rajeswari teaches at home; she can play the violin and keyboard and works as an audio engineer.
The family resides at 24, Venkatesa Agraharam, Mylapore. Phones: 9677689831 / 9629242625
- Much of this tribute is based on a social media post by G Venkata Raman. Photo sourced from FB page of Sasirekha Raammohan