Carnatic vocalist Radha Vishwanathan, 83, daughter of M S Subbulakshmi, who accompanied the legendary musician for nearly five decades on stage, died in Bengaluru on Tuesday night. “My mother Radha Vishwanathan breathed her last on Tuesday, 11.50 p.m. on January 2. She was suffering from pneumonia for the last few weeks but was mentally very active,” said her son V. Shrinivasan.
“It was unbelievable to see my mother pass away to the strains of a beautiful bhajan. She asked my daughter Aishwarya to sing one of the famous numbers of MS, Sriman Narayana and as the song treaded on the words Sripadame Sharanu in the Charanam, my mother bid a permanent goodbye,” said an emotional Shrinivasan.
Vishwanathan had taken a music class as recently as two weeks ago to Aishwarya, and was teaching her from her bed at home, he said.
Vishwanathan had shifted base from Chennai more than a decade ago and moved to Bengaluru to stay with her son, and continue teaching music to her granddaughter. “My grandmother has taught me nearly 700 compositions and has asked me to carry on with the rich MS legacy,” said Aishwarya.
Born at Gopichettypalayam in Tamil Nadu in 1934, Radha Vishwanathan was two years old when M S Subbulakshmi married Sadashivam and came into the family.
“My world was my M S Amma to me, she guided me not just in music, she was the light to my path of life,” she had told a reporter during an interview in Bengaluru.
She is survived by her sons V Chandrashekar and V Shrinivasan; daughters-in-law Sikkil Mala Chandrashekar and Geetha Shrinivasan; and grand daughters S Aishwarya and S Saundarya.
The cremation will be at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, said Shrinivasan.