Sunday, 3 January 2016

Has the rasika-fan world of Carnatic music peaked during the Season?

Is the Carnatic music world in Chennai marked by a frenzy that seems to be growing in recent times?

The kind of frenzy that marks itself well and true during the December season?
Time and again we sensed this trail behind vocalist Sanjay Subrahmanyan, this year's Sangita Kalanidhi awardee.

His fans multiplied rapidly and then began to exhibit their excitement for the star artiste in no uncertain terms.
If social media helped to fan the self-ies, the comments and the hoo-aahs, many auditoriums saw fans showing extraordinary exuberance.

Take the Music Academy sad-as for example, the finale, the evening when the chosen artiste is decorated with the prestigious Sangita Kalanidhi. For every mention of or reference to Sanjay Subrahmanyan's name people clapped, cheered or got excitable. It seemed as if we were in a cinema hall, first-day, first show with excited fans pumped up to let the adrenaline flow. And go!

Was this is a sign of a rasika-fan world that seeks exuberance and excitement, wants to demonstrate its support and 'like' in clear terms, unleashes it without any restrain?

Was this also an exhibition of a phase when rasikas want stars, want heroes, want to follow one or two or may three artistes because they are said to be crazy about his/her music?
And how genuine is that craziness? 

Sabhas in Chennai are beginning to talk about salesable artistes. Artistes who can draw big crowds and will pay anywhere between Rs.300 to Rs.500 for a simple seat.
Some sabhas are even highlighting the 'stars' in their newspaper adverts. 

This December Season witnessed much of this trend.
This is a trend that has begun some years ago.
There was a fan following for Sudha Ragunathan; groups which would trail her to every concert and possibly not sit to listen to the music of many others.
There is also a trail for the popularly known Ra-Ga sisters - Ranjani and Gayatri. And for a few others.
People talk excitedly about such artistes and heap all the pluses on them breathlessly.

Now, all these artistes have their own standards. Their music may be the best.
But are we witnessing the existence of a breathless rasika world that seem to be as boisterous as IPL fans in the cricket world?

December Season 2015 certainly left behind a trend that is probably being witnessed for the first time. Breathless fan-following, some with reason, many blindly perhaps.

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