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K Subash Chandran
- Vijay Shanker

September 4, 2021

K Subash Chandran
Mumbai's leading cultural personality and former program director of National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), K Subash Chandran, left for his heavenly abode on July 21, 2021 in Mumbai. He was 90 and is survived by his wife, daughter Thulasi, son-in-law and two grandchildren. He was suffering from Parkinson's disease and other medical issues and was bedridden for eight months.

K Subash Chandran with Indira Gandhi
With Indira Gandhi when she was minister for I & B

Hailing from Kerala, K Subash Chandran had a distinguished career, serving the government and private sector as well. He was private secretary to the former Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and also the private secretary to Indira Gandhi, when she was the minister for Information and Broadcasting. Subash was also a close associate of former defense minister VK Krishna Menon. He joined as the program director of National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai, when Dr. Narayana Menon was the director and continued with the same designation during the tenure of playwright P.L. Deshpande and retired after theatre personality Dr. Vijaya Mehta took over as the director. Subash was responsible for the planning and execution of several performances at the NCPA complex which has five theatres, namely the Little Theatre (100 seats), Godrej Academy Dance Theatre (300 seats), Experimental Theatre (about 700 seats), Tata Theatre (1000 seats) and the Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, besides organising workshops by eminent mentors.

K Subash Chandran with VK Krishna Menon
With VK Krishna Menon

Subash was a fine orator and writer and had vast knowledge of the performing arts. He was particularly fascinated by Kathakali and used to regularly invite Kathakali troupes from Kerala. The performers were excited to perform at the prestigious venue of the NCPA known for its professionalism, punctuality and wonderful acoustic facility of the theatres. All the shows are ticketed, concession is given to the members of the NCPA and outsiders have to pay the full charge. Normally the turnout for most performances is really good as they have paid for the tickets, unlike the free shows organised by other organisations.

Subash was connected with several social and cultural organisations. He was a member of the governing council of Dr. Kanak Rele's Nalanda Dance Research Centre, member of Mumbai University Fine Arts, Board of Study, member of UNESCO International Music Council, advisor to Philippines Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, trustee of Kochi-Musiris Biennale, artistic director of Keli etc.

Kuchipudi exponent Vyjayanti Kashi recollects, "I was invited to perform for various programs organised by NCPA and it was always a pleasure to interact with Subash Chandran. He was such a balanced person and very prompt in the execution of programs. The performances would start at the right time and finish at the stipulated time; there was no question of crossing the time barrier as NCPA is among the few organisations in the country known particularly for its punctuality."

Odissi exponent Jhelum Paranjape says, "Something interesting that I had observed in the persona of Subash Chandran was that he would look the same in the morning and in the evening too. I used to regularly attend the workshops conducted by Kelubabu. By the time it is evening we are tired and would look tired too but I appreciate how Subash could maintain himself so well; I always wanted to ask him but never did. Before going home, he used to address Guruji everyday, which was a fine gesture. We all miss a personality like Subash Chandran."

Thulasi, daughter of Subash Chandran, pays her tribute. "Words will fall short if I have to talk about my father. He was an exceptional husband to my mother, father to me and my husband, grandfather to my children and friend to many. He was the strength of our family to whom we all looked up to. He devoted his entire life to the field of culture and performing arts and many more. I feel proud to be his daughter and will always cherish the time spent with him. He is indeed loved beyond words and missed beyond measure."

Vijay Shanker
Vijay Shanker is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.

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