They make a vibrant threesome – Mrs. YGP, her son Mahendra and granddaughter Madhuvanti. The family affair called Bharat Kalachar, a name to reckon with on the art and culture circuit, is on its silver jubilee run this year. Hence the excitement of those behind it is understandable. The fourth contributor to the feat – Sudha Mahendra -- is the quietest of the quartet and a perfect foil to the rest of the group. “The milestone doesn’t surprise me. No venture kicked off by my dad has gone awry and BK was his baby,” says Y.Gee. Mahendra, its secretary. That UAA, the theatre troupe begun by Y.G. Parthasarathy, is into its 60th year now, exemplifies Mahendra’s point. Not just drama, YGP was greatly interested and knowledgeable in music and dance too.

“Semmangudi Mama helped us nurture Bharat Kalachar. Spotting talents was another forte of his which helped us in our search for promising youngsters,” remembers Mrs. YGP. “We miss him,” the others chorus. Bharat Kalachar began in a small way, but with stalwarts at the forefront. “The influence of Western culture in my students was disconcerting. I had to open their eyes to the treasure trove of art that is extant in us, and with my husband and son Mahendra as motivating factors we decided on a cultural wing for our PSBB School. A confluence of education and art is what we aimed at,” recalls the doyen. Things have changed and Bharat Kalachar is a separate entity today, but service to art and culture is still its bottomline.

“Bharat Kalachar finds a primary slot on our agenda. And Sudha is its stabilising factor. She personally hands over the payment to all the artists, big and small. We attend all the programmes we organise, unless inevitable. Even then at least one of us is always there. For the artist, these personal touches are morale boosters, and help create a perfect rapport between us,” observes Bharat Kalachar’s effervescent chairman, Mrs. YGP.

“We like the talent on stage to know that we honour his presence and performance,” begins Sudha Mahendra. “And being a family of artists, we understand them well and treat them with the deference they deserve,” adds Madhuvanti Arun, Kalachar’s cultural consultant, who lends a lot of youthfulness to the endeavour.

That the energetic bunch behind BK comprises connoisseurs of fine arts and entertainment is revealed in the reviews of Mrs. YGP after the tani at every concert -- a much-looked forward to segment nowadays. “Her appraisal has become a must,” chuckles Mahendra. “Having been a reviewer for The Hindu in those days, critiquing is a pleasurable exercise for me,” laughs Mrs. YGP.

On a more serious note Mahendra exhorts: “The media can allot more space for young talents. BK encourages them first with the platform and depending on their potential with the title of Yuva Kala Bharati. For your part you can give them space on your pages.”

“Popular performers get it anyway. It is on their way to the pinnacle that musicians need fillip. And performance or award at BK is given purely on merit,” adds Sudha. The organisation is bolstered up with an advisory board of eminent artists that selects the awardees.

The forum’s Margazhi Mahotsavam is well under way and as always eminence in all its manifestations has been honoured – only that this time the silver jubilee mark makes it extra special. Classical musicians and dancers who have grown to glory with Bharat Kalachar and have garnered global fame, beginning with Neyveli Santhanagopalan and Bombay Jayashri, and Meenakshi Chitharanjan and Priydarsini Govind were chosen for a special one-time award – Velli Vizha Sangeeta Kala Bharathi and Nrithya Kala Bharathi -- this year. “Art to us isn’t confined to the classical genres alone -- they encompass cinema, ‘chinna thirai’ and theatre too. This year’s Natya Kaladhar is Sachu, for her achievements on stage cinema and television,” says Madhuvanti.

Sivaji Ganesan, MSV, Nagesh, Padmini, Sowcar Janaki, T.M. Soundararajan, P. Suseela and L.R. Easwari are some illustrious names that have been feted at BK. “We also honoured Cho for his theatre pursuits with ‘Haasya Sarva Bhowma,’” laughs Mrs. YGP. “Give me an award that people understand or a pamphlet explaining its meaning. I have to keep explaining it to everyone,’ he quipped,” Mahendra remembers with a chortle. Rasika Kala Bharati given to regular attendees is another unique feature.

“The silver jubilee of Bharat Kalachar is very significant personally, because I will be on stage for a play, a dance show and a musical evening of Mohammad Rafi, which we have planned this year as a celebration of the singer’s 87{+t}{+h} birthday on December 24,” smiles Madhuvanthi.

“My wish is that jubilees – golden, platinum and more -- should be a norm at Bharat Kalachar,” smiles Mrs. YGP. “And I’m sure you will be the beacon at all those celebrations too,” I tell her.

All the way back home my mind dwells on the dynamism of this helmswoman and her worthy endeavours that includes Bharat Kalachar where art and culture blossom in all their varied hues …


Arts, Entertainment & EventsMay 14, 2012