The Kalaimamani awards from 2011 to 2018, announced this March, were awarded to the artistes by the Chief Minister on Tuesday. In the announcement that came after 8 years, as many as 201 recipients were selected from 72 different art forms.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced the institution of three special Kalaimamani awards in the name of former CM Jayalalithaa.
He also said that based on an appeal from several artistes, the government was increasing the weight of the medal from 3 sovereigns to 5 sovereigns. Furthermore, financial assistance given to elderly artistes every month would be increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000. Music director Deva, chairman of the Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram, thanked the government for considering their request.
Veteran playback singer S Janaki, Carnatic singers Bombay sisters (C Lalitha and C Saroja) and TV Gopalakrishnan, were conferred with the MS Subbulakshmi award by the government.
Bharatanatyam exponents Vyjayanthi Mala Bali, CV Chandrasekar, VP Dhananjayan and Shantha Dhananjayan, were conferred with the Balasaraswathi award. Poet Pulamaipiththan, Subbu Arumugam (Villu Paatu) and author Sivasankari, were conferred with Bharathi award.
Kutti Padmini (2011), Prasanna (2013), Nalini (2013), Kanchana Devi (2013), Karthi (2014), MS Bhaskar (2016), Thambi Ramaiyah (2016), Vijay Sethupathi (2017), Priya Mani (2017) and Srikanth (2018) were among the recipients for acting.
Kalaimamani for music directors Vijay Antony (2015) and Yuvan Shankar Raja (2017) were also announced.
The delay in announcing the Kalaimamani awards has created quite a flutter among the artistes’ fraternity. As for the folk artistes in the state, district level awards like Kalaimani, Kalaisudarmani, Kalaivalarmani, Kalainanmani and Kalaimudhumani are prestigious while Kalaimamani is a state level recognition for them. According to reports, these district level awards too have not been given for the past few years.