Thursday, 18 December 2014

Jottings at a Wedding Hall; one more festival launch

The opening evening of the December Season festival of Indian Fine Arts Society was held on Wednesday, December 17 at the Ethiraja Kalyana Mantapam, Alwarpet. A few jottings of the event.

< Till the other day, the mantapam hosted a series of weddings and receptions. This evening, it was a venue for a music and dance festival. You would have been forgiven if you thought you were now attending a wedding reception! The decor was similar, a welcome party was at the main door and the senior artistes who were to be on the stage, dressed in the best silks were also seated at the entrance; there was a reason for it. They and the sabha elders were led to to the stage by the nagaswaram artistes who had been playing since 3.30 p.m.

< If you are a rasika who attends events like these you may well shake your head when you have to listen to emcees and hosts reeling out the profiles of well known artistes. Some hosts try their own versions of introduction and can be a source of amusement for their goofiness. 'We have seen her since her teen years,' can even be embarrassing to an artiste when this isn't true. This evening here, there were some hilarious spots.

< Many speakers mentioned that on stage, were a group of talented women. Now, there was one person who would have raised his eyebrows. Mridangam vidwan Mannargudi Easwaran, decorated with an award instituted by Umayalpuram Sivaraman was on stage. On either side were women - guest Chitra Visweswaran, the awardees Priyadarshini Govind and A Kanyakumari, guests Bombay Sisters and Nandini Ramani. 

< These occasions can get speakers go personal. Too personal - these can be lighter moments and some can make you wince. Kanyakumari, reacting to C. Saroja's anecdotes of the Bombay Sisters' relationship with the violinist, recalled days when the Bombay Sisters would pack some idles for her for 'tiffin'.

< Kanyakumari went down memory lane. The year when she had decided to study music at Queen Mary's College on the Marina. The office had told her that the seats were filled up. So, in keeping with her devotion to the Lord of the Seven Hills, she had made yet another trip to Tirupathi and got back to the city. A relative had made a call to a officer at the government secretariat they knew and also mentioned about Kanyakumari's admission predicament. In a jiffy, a call was made to QMC and the young music student was admitted. " That was a turning point in my life," she said.

<  There was an emotional moment on stage. Priyadarshini dedicated her award to all those who had made sacrifices for her. She mentioned her husband and suddenly broke down. There was silence all around. It took some time for the dancer to compose herself. "I rarely get emotional on stage but……….", she said and carried on with a slow, paced speech. This is her second award this season.

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