Lakshmi Sundaram hails from Pathamadai in Tirunelveli district, lived in Thiruvananthapuram and Burma for a short while where her father was a professor in the University. She took her B.Sc., from the Queen Mary's College, Madras and M.A., in Political Science and Public Administration from the Presidency College, Madras. She obtained a Diploma in French from the Alliance Francaise, Pondicherry.
She is a freelance writer with numerous articles on diverse subjects like culture, travel and humour in national newspapers and journals.
She was also a broadcaster. She was the first one to read news in English when the AIR (All India Radio) was started in Pondicherry in 1967. She was also broadcasting over Radio-Television, Belgium in 1970 and 1971.
She is married to Dr. G. Sundaram, IAS(Rtd.) Former Secretary to the Government of India.
When South Indian artistes were practically not known or were not projected in the media in the North about two decades ago, I thought that I would try to fill the void in my own way as a freelance writer for the newspapers in Delhi. At that time, even national awards for the Tamil actors were a few and far between. But the newspapers in Delhi readily came forward and published my articles after my personal interaction with some of the young and upcoming artistes of Chennai. I gave, in these articles, a bit of their personal background, their interest in music or dance or cinema and as young artistes how they were looking into the future. At that time, they were a bit hesitant to talk freely about their future. They were confident of themselves, but also a bit cautious naturally being young. Some of the contents, particularly what they said, may appear at times repetitive, but these find a place in the book to show mainly that different newspapers in Delhi were ready to publish to give a new Southern focus.
The present book is thought of because almost all of them have made tremendous strides and in fact are shining stars in the cultural firmament today. A few of them like Lalgudi, the Travancore Sisters and Sivaji were stalwarts even then and they had since passed into memory leaving behind a rich legacy and their children are in their footsteps bearing the cultural flag. This book is an attempt at sketching this progress.
"Carnatic music is an endless ocean," said the young Unnikrishnan when I spoke to him nearly two decades ago. "Dance is an expression of my soul," said Vyjayanthimala. Cinema is for the common man. A common man can elevate himself from folk-music to film music and ultimately to Carnatic music. Tamil cinema has made tremendous progress surpassing Bollywood and Hollywood. This is also the Centenary Year of Indian Cinema. In this tradition of film and Carnatic music came M.L. Vasanthakumari whose shining disciple is 'the charming chanteuse', Sudha Raghunathan.
I also thank these newspapers/journals for graciously having permitted me to publish these articles in a book form.
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