Rasikas at the 41st annual day of Pollachi Tamizhisai Sangam were treated with an exciting line-up comprising Tamil plays, dance and vocal recitals.

Veteran nagaswaram artist Sembanar Koil S.R.G. Rajanna, the surviving member of the Sembanar koil Brothers duo, was honoured with the title, ‘Kuzhalisai Perarasu’ at the 41st annual day of Pollachi Tamizhisai Sangam at Mahatma Gandhi Mandapam, Pollachi. Their rakti melam and mallari are remembered with joy even today by rasikas of nagaswaram.

In ‘Vande Shambhum,’ a traditional dance form dedicated to Lord Siva, Sheela Unnikrishnan’s aesthetic choreography was brought to life by well-trained and cheerful dancers in bright costumes. They flitted across the stage with nimble footwork and admirable abhinayas.

The programme began with ‘Vighnaraja Mallari’ followed by Natesha kavuthuvam. The artists introduced the items, and little Mrinalini Sivakumar, all of seven years, scored with her excellent performance and endearing introduction. The varnam, ‘Swami Naanundhan Adimai’ in Nattakurinji, presented by nine dancers with lovely formations and picturesque postures, offered a feast to the eyes. Archana Raja transformed into the quintessential ‘Virahotkantitha Nayika’ (the heroine undergoing the pangs of separation) during her solo performance for the padam ‘Gaana Reengaaram Seyyum Karuvande.’ The Nataraja stotram by Patanjali was impressive with skilfully incorporated karanas and yogasanas.

Chitrambari Krishna Kumar, whose voice had a unique blend of majesty and melody, led the impressive orchestra. Sheela’s efficient nattuvangam, Ramesh’s mellifluous notes on the flute and guru Bharadhwaj’s sparkling beats on the mridangam added to the effect. 

Popular Tamil songs, old and new, were presented in the vocal concert by Ragam Sisters - Shivaranjani and Nalinakanthi. ‘Tharunam Idhammaa’ by Syama Sastri (Gowli Panthu), ‘Kapali’ (Mohanam) and ‘Sivagama Sundari’ (Jaganmohini) set the pace in the first half. After an elaborate alapana of Harikhambodi, they sang, ‘Enadhu Manam Kavalai Enum Irul Soozhnthaal.’ Their voices blended smoothly and the swaraprastara session was quite lively. ‘Maruntheeswarane Sivashankarane’ on the Lord of Thiruvanmiyur was the centrepiece.

The unusual composition in Kapi comprising verses from the ‘Thirukkural’ set to tune by their grandfather MayuramViswanatha Iyer, was remarkable. The meaningful words of Valluvar reached the audience more easily through their powerful rendering. There was rich variety in the latter half as they included favourites such as ‘Nithiraiyil Vandhu Nenjil Idam Konda,’ ‘Vara Vendum Vara Vendum Thaaye’ and ‘Paayum Oli Nee Enakku.’ Kovai Chandran gave excellent support on the violin. So did Arjun Ganesh on the mridangam and Ernakulam Ramakrishnan on the ghatam. 

Two Tamil plays, ‘Naarkaalikku Idamillai’ by Madhava Boovaraaha Murthy (The Original Boys Company 95) and ‘Karuppu Aadugal’ by Radhakrishnan (Sowmya Group, Chennai) were staged on the last two days.