Aruna Sairam and Malavika Sarukkai come together for ‘Sammohanam’ on March 9, in Chennai.

There is a sense of palpable excitement when two celebrated artists, who have not collaborated before, come together to share a platform. The expectation of the viewer also increases manifold and the artists have to travel that extra mile to satiate the rasikas.

Though jugalbandis are not uncommon, they are rather unpredictable, wherein it can either scale great heights or fall flat. The comfort level and the trust between the two artists charter the course of the performance.

It is with a great degree of anticipation that the rasikas of Chennai are waiting for ‘Sammohanam’ when the celebrated vocalist Aruna Sairam and the acclaimed dancer Malavika Sarukkai come together for an evening of dance and music on March 9, 7 p.m., at The Music Academy, Chennai.

This show germinated from an idea which came from Hariharan of Showspace and gathered momentum, when the CEOs of SS International Live, Muralidharan, Elango Kumanan and Ananthakrishnan came into the picture. This jugalbandi promises to be different, for it is the outcome of many months of hard work, dialogue and investment of time.

“There was a common factor between us,” says Malavika. “Both of us grew up in Bombay, moved to Madras and carved our own individual paths. It is rare to find senior artists such as Aruna with an open mind for a healthy dialogue, which made it easy for us to establish a rapport.” Aruna also was taken in by the dedication, passion, commitment and open-mindedness of Malavika. Says Aruna, “It brought me closer to experience the amazing spirit and the physical offering of mind and body of Malavika.”

“The whole process began with months of just long conversations on everything under the sun, which helped us get into a comfort zone,” says Malavika. It was only after this that they moved on to develop the concept, music, choreography and so on. Aruna says it was Malavika who came up with the strong concept, a storyline with a common thread running through a narrative, which moves from the invisible to the visible, and an experience from the personal to the collective.

“There will a certain flow in the concept, keeping in mind the language and the music, and each composition will not be a stand-alone piece but an organic progress of growth flowing from one to another. The focus is on manodharma, which is of prime importance, wherein, we give one another opportunities to revel in both individual as well as shared space. This scope for imaginative exploration is firmly rooted in a strong foundation, a framework arising out of many rehearsals. It is well rehearsed in the sense that it has helped us to be intuitive to each other’s art,” says Malavika.

Aruna has worked on the soundscape. Besides using popular compositions, she has also tuned some songs for the fresh choreographic numbers of Malavika. The musical score will have a pan-Indian approach. This jugalbandi promises to be an evening of excitement when two women collaborate to celebrate Internationa Women’s Day and rasikas are also in for a surprise, a composition which will be a grand finale.