Subbu Arumugam



Shri Subbu Arumugam was born in 1928 at Chatthiram Pudukulam village of Thirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu. He received training in the Villupattu theatre art under A. Subbaiah Pillai, A. Navaneetha- krishna Pillai, and Kalaivanar N.S. Krishnan. Shri Arumugam has been performing Villupattu profes- sionally for about thirty years from the late 1930s up to the 1950s in diverse locations in Tamil Nadu — temples, schools and colleges, factories and corporate offices — as well as over the broadcasting media. Outside the State, he has performed Villupattu before expatriate Tamil audiences in Sri Lanka and Singapore since the early 1990s. Shri Arumugam has created all his scripts and staged performances on various themes with his troupe with consummate skill, interspersed with songs and humorous digressions. He has published fifteen books containing Villupattu narratives and songs, as well as short stories and novels such as Veera Pandia Kattabomman. Noolaga Villisai, Ramayanam, and Villisai Mahabharatham are some of his published Villupattu narratives. He has many Villupattu audio-cassettes to his credit, devoted to conventional subjects as well as public issues. Similarly, his videos of Villupattu focus on devotional themes as well as matters of public concern such as health and the law. Kannile Nalla Gunam, a video on diabetic retinopathy, has been produced by Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, and Sattam, Sathyam, Samudhyam, a video on legal matters, has been produced by the Government of Tamil Nadu. Shri Arumugam has been honoured with the Kalaimamani title in 1975 by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Manram. Shri Subbu Arumugam receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribu- tion to the practice of Villupattu.