The Gems of Madurai – Famous Personalities from Madurai

Apart from being a city of temples with numerous tourist attractions, Madurai has its fair share of famous personalities who have carved their distinct space from music to film to literature to politics.

Illayaraaja – Music director

One of the most famous music directors in Indian movie industry, Illayaraaja was born in 1943 in a village near Madurai. He is a true music legend who has directed music for over 850 Indian films across different genres and languages in his career that spanned about 30 years as a music director. He has also been awarded several national, state and Filmfare awards.

Indira Soundarajan – Writer

Well-known for his short stories and novels, Indira Soundarajan is a prominent Tamil author who has etched his own space in the literary realm of Tamil Nadu. He has worked as a scriptwriter for several serials in Tamil as well.

M.S. Subbulakhsmi – Carnatic Singer

One of the renowned Carnatic vocalists, M.S. Subbulakhsmi was born in Madurai to a family that had a rich history as proponents of Carnatic music. She had a natural affinity towards Carnatic music and at the tender age of 10, she released her first record. She was given India’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna for her exemplary contribution toward Carnatic music. She was also the first ever music personality to receive this honour.

N. M. R. Subbaraman –“Madurai Gandhi”

An ardent follower of the Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, Subbaraman gave up his studies abroad to follow Gandhiji and join him in the freedom struggle of India. He has constantly participated in every Satyagraha that Gandhiji leads and been jailed several times, as well. He also strived hard to uplift the social and cultural status of the Harijans.

Rukmini Devi Arudale – Bharathanatyam Dancer

Though born to a traditional Brahmin family that had a great penchant for classical music in Madurai, what struck a chord with Rukmini Devi Arudale was the classical dance form Bharathanatyam. She was a great proponent of Bharathanatyam and later incepted the dance school ‘Kalashetra’. She was as much a dancer, as an educationalist and a cultural ambassador.

T. V. Sundaram Iyengar – Auto Industrialist

The architect of TVS group of companies, the great industrialist has shown the world that automobiles ingeniously produced in India—once called a third world country—can compete with other veteran automobile companies and stand its own ground. The company has now grown to be one of the largest makers of motorcycles in India, distributing its products all over the world.

Vairamuthu – Poet

A renowned poet and lyricist who has a way with words to craft instantly likeable and attractive poems, Vairamuthu has bagged the national award for best lyricist 5 times. He has also been awarded various laurels including the Kalaimamani award and awards from State Government of Tamil Nadu for his unmatched contributions towards Tamil language and literature.

Apart from these famous personalities, there are several others such as Madurai N. Krishnan, Madurai R Sundar, Maniratnam, Vadivelu and T. M. Soundarajan who have made distinct marks in Tamil culture and society.