CHENNAI: People today don’t know where Urur Kuppam or Olcott Kuppam is,” rues 13-year-old Deepika about the old fishermen hamlet where she and many generations of her family have been living. Her father is a fisherman while her mother works as a domestic help. Deepika complains that she has to name recently constructed yet popular food-chains nearby while directing people to her ‘area’.
Deepika and her elder sister Monica, along with other girls, most of whom are studying in Class 9, will be performing Villupattu at the Urur Olcott Kuppam Vizha. The team has been meeting after school every day to practice for their performance. Social worker and writer of the Villupattu skit, Veronica Angel says that parents living in the Kuppam are not scared to let their kids out after dark.
“Everyone is eager to see their kids perform. The girls are full of life and extremely bold,” she points out.
Veronica has choreographed a couple of skits with the kids before. They previously staged a skit about the frequent power cuts in the State after performing one that highlighted the problems of the fisherfolk. For the fest, Veronica has chosen to discuss the recent floods through her skit. Both Monica and Deepika agree that they have learnt a lot by participating in Villupattu. “The comedy in the play helps us ponder on topics we discuss. Even though it’s a serious topic, the sarcasm and simple language helps us understand how the flood had affected us,” says Monica.
To catch their performance, head to Ellaiamman Koil, Urur Olcott Kuppam, on Saturday (Feb 27) at 5.30 pm.
TMK’s Musical Mission
TM Krishna is on a charge to revive dying art-forms and also take existing ones to a variety of audience. In an effort to bring about ‘unrestricted access for all’ he started the Urur Olcott Margazhi Vizha, which he humbly describes as a socio-experiment. But even the average Chennaiite would know it’s much more than that. The only other similar festival to take place like this was the same festival which happened last year. Excerpts from City Express’s chat with TMK.
What’s the significance of the venue? “We, as a group, are grappling with who we are and where we come from. This Vizha takes a hard look at all the social structures that we have erected ourselves,” he explaind. “Two years ago, I spoke to environmental activist Nityanand Jayaraman. He suggested Urur Olcott Kuppam as the venue. I was happy that the panchayat agreed to play host.”
He agrees that not everyone can appreciate all forms of art “but we should learn to respect them,” he adds. “It is okay to dislike a certain form, but how would we know if we like something without being exposed to it?”