C Lalitha, the younger one among Bombay Sisters, no more

The Bombay sisters were born in Thrissur. File photos

C Lalitha, younger of the famous Carnatic duo Bombay sisters, died at the age of 85 at her Adayar home in Chennai. She was cremated at 3pm on Wednesday at Besant Nagar Crematorium.

C Saroja and C Lalitha, who were only a year apart, always performed together and were famously known as the Bombay sisters. Lalitha’s husband is Tamil Nadu’s former Advocate General N R Chandran.

Born to parents Muktambal and Chidambara Iyer, the sisters were brought up in Thrissur. They moved to Mumbai after their father who was a Railway employee got transferred. Once there, they began performing together. Though they shifted to Chennai to pursue music after getting a fellowship from the Central College of Music, Madras, the Bombay name never left them.

They trained under H A S Mani, Musiri Subrahmania Iyer, and T K Govinda Rao (for nearly half a decade). When Madurai Mani Iyer couldn’t perform at the Sai Baba Musical Festival owing to illness, the Bombay sisters replaced him on stage. This became a milestone in their music career.

In 2020, they were honoured with the Padma Shri. They have been accorded many prestigious awards including the Tamil Nadu government’s Kalaimamani Award.

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