CHENNAI: During the weekend, Raga Sudha Hall echoed of hoots and whistles. From Villupattu by children from Ennore to a talk by director Pa Ranjith with achievers of North Chennai, the performances at Chennai Kalai Theru Vizha were entertaining and meaningful as well.
Clad in dhotis and shirts, the children from Ennore addressed issues like the oil spill and erosion of the shore through Villupattu. Next on stage was a gaana song performance by Vyasarpadi Muniammal. The elderly woman presented five songs accompanied by mridangam. The audience could not help but dance. Muniammal, draped in a glittery pink sari, was moved to tears by the audience’s reaction.
This was her debut on stage. “These are talents that need to be brought to the forefront. I salute Chennai Kalai Theru Vizha for their tremendous efforts. The kind of response you get from the audience for these performances is different and that’s the real Chennai feel,” said Nambi Prakash, who has attended all the programmes. Tamil Sufi songs of Kunnankudi Mastan Sahib by Kumari Aboobacker was presented by historian Kombai Anwar. The artiste explained the similarities in Sufi and Carnatic songs by singing a few verses from both styles. The Saturday evening ended with a power-packed fusion dance by Flying Bees Dance Troupe.
The events on Sunday kick-started with Parai and Oyilattam by Arunodaya Youth Troupe. This was followed by oppaari performance by JP Veeramani and western music by Anglo-Indian band Ryan and the Undercovers.
“Despite having talent, aspirations and diversity, north Chennai has a bad reputation among Chennaiites. There are so many achievers working over and above their capacity, and that is the reason we organised this event hoping they get some limelight and a lot of exposure,” said Nityanand Jayaraman, organiser of the event.
The discussion on north Chennai by Pa Ranjith with three achievers from the area — lyricist Gana Logan and social activists Kalavathy Arun and Shalin Maria Lawrence — made the audience rethink the connections between the political, economic, social and aesthetic aspects. “I come from Karlapakkam and right from my childhood, I have been seeing excellent sports persons in north Chennai. Without any official training, they learn to play carrom, football and boxing,” said Pa Ranjith while asking people to work towards an inclusive society.