Pollachi Tamizhisai Sangam recently celebrated its 42nd annual day at Mahatma Gandhi Mandapam, Pollachi. Acclaimed folk-art exponent Vijayalakshmi Navaneethakrishnan and her team, clad in colourful ethnic costumes, presented folk-songs on the inaugural day. Earlier, the Sangam conferred on her the title, ‘Gramiya Kalai Sudar, in recognition of her extensive research, revival and documentation of ancient Tamil folk songs.

Students of Kala Sadhanalaya (Guru-Revathi Ramachandran) presented the dance ballet, ‘Aayar Kula Thilakam’ highlighting the impressive and enjoyable episodes from the life of Sri Krishna. They began with the Periyazhwar’s verses ‘Pallaandu Pallaandu’ and depicted the childhood antics of Krishna. The varnam, ‘Nee Indha Maayam Seidhaal’ in Dhanyasi was a visual treat in Revathi’s enjoyable choreography that incorporated interesting jatis. ‘Aandal Thirukkalyanam’ followed with an impressive entry by Andal. Revathi’s daughter, Manasvini Ramachandran played the role of Andal effectively. After presenting a few Thiruppaavai songs they presented ‘Vaaranamaayiram.’ This composition by Andal was a delight to watch as dedicated dancers gave life to Revathi's imaginative choreography.

Vocalist Sasidharan Natarajan led the orchestra with absolute ease. P.V. Ramana’s mellifluous flute was molten melody and the theme being, ‘Krishna,’ he had a whale of a time playing lilting tunes. Venkatasubramanian’s mridangam was a great asset, especially during the jatis. Revathi excelled in her roles as Yashodha and Radha, as well as in her majestic nattuvangam.

Intertwined with humour

The play ‘Endru Thaniyum Indha Sudhandhira Dhaagam,’ originally written and presented by Cho Ramaswamy (in 1971) was enacted by ‘TV’ Varadharajan’s United Visuals Group. Cho has coated his stinging satire with humour, making the play thought-provoking as well as entertaining. With characteristic candidness, Cho points out in the introduction (shown on the screen) that the unchanged political situation in our country takes the credit for making his play still relevant, after so many decades. Should we laugh at it or feel ashamed?

Cho has visualised the possible damage that the Indian version of democracy can cause if followed in Devaloka. With great nonchalance, corrupt politician Nalla Thambi makes the administration in Devaloka collapse and reduces Kubera to a pauper! Fortunately, when the residents wake up to reality, they restore normalcy in Devaloka. When will we wake up? The dialogue has been retained verbatim. Some portions such as Narada’s calling the king of Devaloka as ‘Indira’ repeatedly, and Nalla Thambi’s imitation of a particular politician would have had greater punch, then. It was not an emotionally gripping play, but could retain the interest of the audience to a great extent.

Narmadha’s ‘Andrum, Indrum, Endrum’ was a medley of popular songs, mostly devotional and some ‘filmy.’ While explaining her theme, she stated that music in any form is good if it is pleasing. She began with ‘Vinaayagane Vinai Theerpavane’ followed by a Mallari in Gambhira Nattai. She demonstrated that Carnatic music’s mainstay is manodharma while playing, Dikshitar’s ‘Vaathaapi Ganapathim.’

Next was a film devotional by Madurai Somu, ‘Marudhamalai Maamaniye Murugayyaa.’ The emotion filled brigas of Madurai Somu appeared without a change through the deft fingers of Narmadha. ‘Nagumomu’ in Abheri by Tyagaraja was another masterpiece and the violinist was in her elements when she presented that. The lighter songs included, ‘Adhisaya Ragam,’ ‘Kundrathile Kumaranukku Kondaattam’ and Magudi. Narmadha gave a sample of Hindustani style with ‘Raamachandra Prabhu.’ On the percussion side, thavil, keyboard and drums enhanced the liveliness of the concert. The five-day event concluded with Chennai Kalavaahini V.H. Balu’s play, ‘Anbudan.’