The Subbudu phenomena started when he sent a review of Sathur Subramaniam's rendition of "Ni irunga enil" (in Atana). Subbudu first tore into the singer's lack of respect for lyrics and his failure to bring out the emotional essense of the song. He said something like "He sings as if he is threatening a person sitting on tree-top to come down". Subbudu added "come down or I'll break your leg - is how the tone of the song goes". Kalki, while calling him adhigaprasangi, encouraged his sense of humor. While it all started in humor, Subbudu was actually beaten up in Thiruvaiyaar, and was even sued for his severe criticism. Not that Subbudu didn't ask for it. He was bold enough to criticise works of many eminent singers right from Muthusami Dikshithar to Madurai Mani Iyer. Nobody was sacred to him. Not only did he make fun of MD Ramanathan's gimmicks and funny gestures while singing, but he was also one of the initial people to point out the eroticism in certain "devotional songs" and made fun of people who sang them for religious purposes. I can't imagine how his blunt comments like "suttralavai kuraithal ulagam sutralam" (he asks a dancer to slim down a lot) might've affected an artist. But however, harsh he has been, one cannot fault him for being incorrect (except for the popular instance where he apologized for misinterpreting Dikshithar's Gamanashrama raaga as nishagam). My father ( a big Subbudu hater and my chief source of Subbudu knowledge) disliked subbudu for destroying the career of many young and upcoming artists. His criticisms were so sharp that it destroyed the confidence of young artists. But at the same time he had a keen eye on talent and if he saw talent in young artists he encouraged them no end. I like subbudu. I think India needs a person like him. He gives character and definition for one end of the spectrum. The closest he has come to "apologizing" for his profession was when he said "Kaaram irunthaalam Krodham illai".
In an era where carnatic music was either Sanskrit or Telugu, Subbudu supported Kalki's call for more Tamil based songs. He thought Jugalbandhis were nonsense. He was particularly unimpressed when second-rate musicians from the North were being honored unnecessarily just because they sang Hindustani music. While he bluntly criticised those musicians for their mediocrity in the columns he wrote in Delhi papers, he had this to say about Hindustani Vs Carnatic Music - " I am also listening Hindustani music from my birth. I am also commenting upon them in Delhi papers. I am writing without being afraid of any one. In fact, there is nothing great in Hindustani music apart from the purity of the shruti. It is because of the lack of purity of shruti that South Indian music is not perhaps appreciated in the North. Further in Hindustani music, every artist specializes in specific aspect – khayal, dhrupad, thapa, thumri etc. So far as rhythm (tala) is concerned, they are still at an elementary level.".