If the intellectuals and scholars benefited by the seminars, discussions and paper presentations at the conference halls, the art-loving public was overwhelmed by the richness and variety of the cultural events showcasing the unique grandeur of Tamil culture and literature during the World Classical Tamil Conference in Coimbatore.
‘Semmozhi kalai vizha,’ comprising folk art forms as well as traditional Bharatanatyam and classical music, was organised at 11 venues in Coimbatore for three days preceding the Conference. Oyilattam, karagattam, paraiyattam, silambattam and kavadiyattam were thoroughly enjoyed by the onlookers. The participating artists had taken great pains to select
relevant themes and appropriate compositions. In most cases they had to set the verses to tune and the dancers had to do the additional job of choreographing those lines. Thirukkural, Purananuru, Naladiyar, Seevaka Chinthamani and Avvaiyar’s ‘Nalvazhi’ came alive with the lively tunes to which they were set. Enterprising young musicians such as Dr. R. Ganesh, R. Suryaprakash and A.S. Murali presented these songs in separate concerts.
Sudha Raghunathan’s concert of Tamil songs had the usual verve and charm. Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam and team rendered songs of Ponnaiah Pillai on the five types of land (Ainthinaippaadalgal).
Sheela Unnikrishnan of Sridevi Nrithyalaya presented, ‘Kuraloviyam,’ a complete Bharatanatyam recital starting from Pushpanjali to Thillana based on verses from Thirukkural. Divyasena’s Bharatanatyam presentation ‘Pannum Bharatamum’ bore witness to her extensive research on the ancient origins of the ragas. Binesh Mahadevan’s troupe enacted ‘Nalacharitham’ while Revathi Ramachandran presented a Bharatanatyam based on Bharatiar’s songs on women. Alarmel Valli’s ‘Sangathamizh Maalai,’ Sindhuri’s ‘Nadham, Nadanam, Natramizh’ and Swarnamalya’s ‘Nammai Maranthaarai Naam Marakka Maattom’ were rich in content and technique.
The evenings were devoted to impressive cultural events inside the campus on the days of the conference. The dance dramas by Padma Subrahmanyam (‘Porvaalum Poovithazhum’ by M. Karunanidhi) and Krishna Kumari Narendran (‘Muthamizh Muzhakkam’) won great accolades.
On the one hand the mellifluous violin recital by T.N. Krishnan and the dignified veena by Revathy Krishna filled the hearts of the listeners with peaceful harmony. On the other hand ‘drums’ Sivamani’s rhythmic patterns flowed in torrents, making every cell in the listeners’ body dance. Each staging had something special to offer, like the moving and impressive presentation by the differently-abled children (trained by actor-choreographer Raghavendra Lawrence). Prasanna Ramaswamy’s ‘Pirappokkum,’ a folk art form,
Koothuppattarai Muthusamy’s drama ‘Aatraamai’ and Poolavadi Muthu Meenakshi’s ‘Annanmaar Kathai’ were some of the events steeped in the soil’s flavour.
P.A. Mani, I.F.S., Commissioner of Art and Culture department, Tamil Nadu, and the official coordinator for the cultural programme and tourism committee said, “the job of selecting and bringing the artists together was certainly challenging but thoroughly enjoyable, mainly due to the heartening response from the audience.” Dr. Uma Maheshwari, Principal, Government College of Music, Thiruvaiyaru, who was in charge of the arrangements, was full of praise for Coimbatore's famed hospitality. She was carrying happy memories back, she said.