K.G. Subramanyan speaking about Gandhi's views on and relationship with art.
New Delhi: Late cartoonist Mario Miranda, actors Dharmendra and Shabana Azmi, top mathematician M S Raghunathan, former Chief Vigilance Commissioner N Vittal and industry leader B Muthuraman were among those conferred the Padma awards by President Pratibha Patil here on Wednesday. Miranda's son Rahul received the Padma Vibhushan from Patil at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan which was attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and a host of other dignitaries. A loud round of applause reverbated in the majestic Durbar Hall when filmstar Dharmendra stepped forward to receive the Padma Bhushan award from the President. Shutterbugs had a field day as actor-turned-activist Shabana Azmi received the Padma Bhushan. Among the Padma Bhushan awardees were literary theorist Homi K Bhabha, violinist M S Gopalakrishnan, Tata Steel Vice Chairman B Muthuraman, former bureaucrat Mata Prasad, mathematician Raghunathan, jurist P Chandrasekhara Rao, Vittal, neurologist Noshir Hormusji Wadia and former Singapore Foreign Minister George Yong-Boon Yeo. 88-year-old eminent painter K G Subramanyan (Padma Vibushan), Satya Narayan Goenka and Jose Pereira (Padma Bhushan) were not present at the ceremony. Among the Padma Shri awardees were industrialist Swati Piramal, eminent diabetologist V Mohan, former hockey Olympian Zaffar Iqbal, archer Limba Ram and cricket commentator of yesteryear Ravi Chaturvedi. Yakshagana exponent Ramachandra Subraya Hegde Chittani, sitar maestro Shahid Parvez Khan, terracotta artist Mohan Lal Kumhar, Rajasthani folk musician Sakar Khan Manganiar also received the Padma Shri. Odissi dancer Minati Mishra, theatre personality R Nagarathnamma, Lavani exponent Yamunabai Waikar and Chhau dancer Gopal Prasad Dubey Art also received the Padma Shri. Among the other Padma Shri awardees were Laila Tyabji (Handicrafts), Vijay Sharma (Painting), Reeta Devi, Niranjan Pranshankar Pandya, Sat Paul Varma and Phoolbasan Bai Yadav (Social Work). Scientists V Adimurthy, Virander Singh Chauhan, Vijaipal Singh, Y S Rajan and Jagdish Shukla were among the Padma Shri awardees. Distinguished Chartered Accountant Yezdi Hirji Malegam, industrialists Gopinath Pillai and Swati A Piramal, archaeologist K Paddayya and environmentalist Kartikeya V Sarabhai received the Padma Shri. Prof Mahdi Hasan, Shrinivas S Vaishya and Vallalarpuram Sennimalai Natarajan received the Padma Shrin in the medicine category. The Padma Shri conferees in the Literature and Education category were Eberhard Fischer, Surjit Singh Patar, Irwin Allan Sealy, Sachchidanand Sahai and Ralte L Thanmawia. Prabhakar Vaidya received the Padma Shri in the Physical Education category, while T Venkatapathi Reddiar was honoured for his contribution to horticulture. Homeopath Late Jugal Kishore was also among the Padma Shri awardees but no one from his family was present to receive the award.
Padma Vibhushan awardee artist K.G. Subramanyan, who recently turned 90 and was in the city, talks about his recent works and art over the years K.G. Subramanyan might be all of 90 but the twinkle in his eyes and the passion with which he talks about his art belies his age. The senior artist, who is credited with being one of the pioneers of Indian modern art, turned 90 earlier this year. It is to commemorate this that the artist’s recent works have been showcased across the country. In the city recently for his show at Salarjung Museum, the Baroda-based artist says that coming to the city is like coming home. “This is my third visit in the last couple of months and it feels like home. I have a lot of friends and old students here. This show was the brainwave of my publisher Naveen Kishore, who likes to organise such shows every time I reach a certain age. Now that I have reached 90, he got another chance,” chuckles the artist, adding, “He has an extensive itinerary planned. After Hyderabad the show will be held in Kochi, Chennai etc. I’m not travelling with the works, I don’t look forward to travelling as an old man. So while Naveen bears the burden most of the times, I also send my daughter whenever possible.” The artist decided to come to Hyderabad for the show because a documentary on his life made by Gautam Ghosh was to be screened. “However, it is not yet ready. What they did instead was screen another documentary that was made by Shaji N. Karun a few years ago. It is a very nice one,” he recalls. “Shaji, who is an excellent filmmaker, made the film when I was travelling in Kerala with my daughter; I had gone to the state after nearly 70 years. He made it without hijacking my trip and it came out very well. The only thing I don’t like about the film is myself. I look too bloated and old. I should have looked better,” laughs. Talking about his current works, the award-winning artist says that there is no specific theme. “It was not a show that I had planned. They are just works that I keep making and most of the ones on display are what I made in the last few months. The show has 90 of my most recent works on display,” he says. Subramanyan, likes to spend his days constructively. “I spend the time between breakfast and lunch keeping myself busy. I could either be writing or painting. I normally feel very sleepy after breakfast, but to keep that at bay I make sure I’m always doing something. I’m a restless soul and like to involve myself in things I enjoy,” says the artist, who continued to paint even when he was recovering from a recent hip-replacement surgery. “It wasn’t painful. For me art is something I have to do; my reason for being.” The artist, who spent several years teaching fine arts, believes that the art market has undergone a sea change. “Earlier one had to do something apart from just art to support themselves. Today however, there are a lot more buyers for art. Visual communication is the master these days and people don’t mind buying art as an investment. But it is not a market of connoisseurs today, it is people who have money that are buying it,” he says. Quiz him on whther he’d like to write a biography and he smiles, “Not really. People have asked me if I will. But I never maintained a diary when I was younger. I don’t want to write something that might be a personal myth.”
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