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Saga of Steadfast Devotion - Book Release
 

Muthu Chettiar

mssVandyke Brown, Titian Red, MS Blue... one of the unexpected achievements of MS Subbulakshmi, the great Carnatic singer, who passed away on Saturday in Chennai, was in being one of the few people to have a colour named after her, and certainly, the only singer. MS Blue was the name given to a distinctive shade of blue, inky yet iridescent and shot through with black and green highlights, that was used in saris woven specially for her by Kancheepuram Muthu Chettiyar, a fan who was also a sari
merchant....more

Photo by Avinash Pasricha.

Way back in 1923, Kuppusami's grandfather, Nalli Chinnasami Chettiar, used to sell hand-woven sarees door to door in Chennai. Kuppusami recalls with nostalgia the early 1920s and 1930s when there was a one-to-one equation between the production of the silk saree and the buyer. Says he: "Any reference to quality brings to mind the unique sarees of Muthu Chettiar of Kanchipuram. Muthu Chettiar had given up the family business of weaving and become a disciple of the celebrated Kanchipuram musician and patron, Naina Pillai. When his guru died suddenly, Muthu Chettiar was desolate. He had no family (having given up marriage for music) and no profession. He returned to the family profession of weaving. Every saree was a labour of love and produced under his direct supervision without allowing any compromise on quality. Today if we use one mark of zari (gold lace) costing Rs. 2,900 , Muthu Chettiar would have opted for the most expensive zari which costs Rs. 4,500. Kuppusami reminisces that every discerning master-weaver and customer could recognise a Muthu Chettiar creation straight a way.”...more

 
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