Thursday, 1 January 2015

An evening with fans of K J Yesudoss. in North Madras.

The skies were overcast, the Marina looked a ghostly blue-black and LED lights of pavement-side bunk shops told us were in Park Town ( those who do not know their city too well will have to be told that Park Town is an area around the High Court in north Madras.)
Sunday  breaks the maddening, chaotic buzz of this retail market zone of the city. We were headed to Raja Annamalai Manram campus, a art deco building bathed in illumination for its December season fest of Thamizh isai.
The early evening concert of Saswathi Prabhu was on inside. In the crowded lobby people queued at the old-styled ticket sales counter. The evening's big show was a concert of K. J. Yesudoss. Tickets were priced at Rs.150 and Rs.250. The former was sold out. There were a few seats for the latter and people grabbed them hastily.
It was evident that many were here to listen to Yesudoss. They were his fans and they were animated. There were families, elders, children and yuppies. Some of them time-passed by checking out the CDs on sale in the foyer.
We took in the vintage architecture and teak fittings, the busts and the Hall of Fame boards. Dandapani Desigar led the honors. The list ended with this year's awardee - Sirkazhi Siavchidambaram.
As the cars streamed in fans craned their necks - would they get to see their idol? A drizzle had begun, and the lights created a Christmassy feel to the campus.
This is the only surviving performing arts body in north Chennai which hosts a music/dance fest for the 'season'. Today, it stands in a neighborhood that has changed. The wholesale markets, the High Court, the colleges are still there but there are no residential colonies. The rasikas who attend concerts here come from Mannady and Royapuram, from Perambur and Avadi.
Arumugham is one among them. He tells us of a Yesudoss concert he attended in Thiruvallur some years ago and of his favorite Yesudoss songs. "I hope he sings one of them today!," he adds.
The house is full save for the VIP and donor seats in the first five front rows. The curtains part at 7.15 and the artistes on stage - Mahadeva Sharma, Trichy Harikumar and Vaikkom Gopalakrishnan besides Yesudoss - get a huge round of applause. Then there is silence.
The music takes over.
Around the musicians' platform are dozens of students of music at the college that is also run on this campus.
After the first song Yesudoss turns to them and then to the audience. "We have a wealth of music or forefathers have given us. We must know how to make use of it."
Every song is acknowledged with a huge round of applause. The audio levels are a tad high and the music resounds a bit harshly, but the rasikas soak in it. They have a warm applause for Mahadeva Sharma, in top form this evening.
Yesudoss is in an expansive mood. He reassures his mridangist after stopping midway in a  song as the sruti misbehaves. He explains a raga to the audience. He nods at a rasika who is anxious to make a request early in the recital.
And when he glides into the far end of the recital the requests come thick from all corners. A song on Sri Ayyappa. One on Jesus. Another on Sabarimala. One on Muruga.
And 'Alaipayuthey'. The fans are delirious. They stand up and applaud.
It is 10.15.
"He will not end..he will go on," says a fan behind us.
Yesudoss does. And at 10.25 folds his hands.
"I will sing the other requests next year," he says.
The audience stands to applaud. Others rush out to catch the star leave the chamber at the rear.
It has been raining steady this Sunday evening. Outside and inside.

It has been a long time since we felt the spirit of Yesudoss' fans.

No comments:

Post a Comment