Gandhi Mahaan Kadhai

Gandhi Mahaan Kadhai is an emotional narrative of Gandhi’s life in over 250 pages, written by Subbu. He performed this heartrending chronicle more than 1500 times across the country and in Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. His intense love and devotion to the Father of the Nation also earned him an opportunity to do a live show for All India Radio when Gandhiji’s ashes were being immersed in Cauvery.

Subbu, a renowned Villupaatu artiste, was prodded into taking up this form, only because of his interest in Gandhi. Interesting is the legend behind the creation of his Gandhi Mahaan Kadhai, his first work as a villupaatu artiste. Subbu is said to have created it in 1945 for an opportunity to sing Gandhi’s praise in his presence. The debut performance was held in Thakkar Baba Vidhyalaya, Chennai, where it received an overwhelming response, and became an instant success. Though Subbu could not perform it in Gandhi’s presence in his lifetime, Subbu later had the opportunity to make a performance among Tamil patrons in Rajghat, New Delhi.

Subbu’s Gandhi Mahaan Kadhai has been broadcast several times on All India Radio. Besides, he has performed it to over a crore people across the country.

Gandhi was Subbu’s real-life hero and favourite muse. Interestingly, Gandhi was also the hero in Subbu’s first writing endeavour, a poem in the play Nandhanaar. Subbu wrote several poems in praise of the national hero, apart from authoring a series for children about the Mahatma in Anandha Vikatan, called Gandhi Thaatha Kadhaigal (the book was republished recently by Ananda Vikatan and has been well received). Gandhi Mahaan Kadhai was published as a book too, in the year 1947, and will soon be available in a new edition.

To many, Kothamangalam Subbu is still remembered as the man who cried for Gandhi’s death even 25 years after the incident took place. Such was the emotion and devotion with which Subbu narrated the story of his hero.

A Gandhian in creed and deed, Subbu always attired himself in Khadi.

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