Somewhere around two in the afternoon, Chennai was agog with rumours of the death of Nithyashree’s husband Mahadeven.
There was even the rumour that Nithyashree herself had attempted suicide by drinking poison and was in hospital. (Of this, viewers were disabused later; as they saw Nithyashree – clad in black – weeping over her husband’s body kept in an ice-box).
It was only after a few hours in the afternoon that inklings of the news of Mahadevan’s lunge from the Kotturpuram bridge into the Adyar began to appear in the channels. There was no doubt about his condition. No hope that he might perhaps survive his leap. He had unfortunately been more than successful in ending his life categorically.
The news has been rather hesitant in getting into the media. Many prominent channels had missed the incident on a day when Modi swept Gujarat.
Kalaignan TV seemed to have found the agility to rush to the Kotturpuram bridge and shoot footage on Mahadevan’s body being fished out.
Sun TV rounded off the news rather tamely, but informed its viewers that Mahadevan had been cremated. A rather quick send off for the man who had been alive and kicking only that noon.
The news doing the rounds in the channels is that Mahadevan was deeply disturbed and distressed over the death of his mom. A channel let us know that he had been treated for depression on this count.
But was it that which had driven him to the Kotturpuram bridge and made him jump to his death?
Later in the day, we saw a friend (or relative?) of the family telling the media that Nithyashree was quite well, and will the media stop spreading the rumour that she had attempted suicide herself and was being treated in hospital.
Nithyashree has not only climbed to the topmost rung as a Carnatic performer, she is also a film playback singer and has been a star judge in reality shows involving film music. The dizzying heights are at her beckoning. It’s not Thyagaraja and Syama Sastri and Muthuswami Dikshithar anymore. You have to deal with Super Singers and Star Singers.
Mahadevan seems indeed to have been a possessive husband who was in control of his wife’s career. A music director friend tells me that he wanted to know when a recording started and when it ended. Mahadevan seems to have insisted on keeping tabs on his wife all the while.
Did he feel he was losing control? He is said to have spoken furiously to someone on the mobile minutes before his lunge. Whom was he speaking to?
Will we know all that? Or like some not-so-blessed ragas will all that be swept under the carpet? In the frenetic music season of Madras, getting madder and madder every passing year, the next cutcheri is to start and the audience cannot wait to lap up the songs and ragas that they already know.