The emotive and cognitive expressions of the marginalised sections of society came to the fore at the Adi Dravidar Art Cultural festival organised by the Department of Art and Culture in Karur recently.

For close to three hours, the audience was treated to a variety of art forms whose birth throes resonated in the ancient tribes and their rich cultural heritage. They served to remind the others of the need to foster them for posterity.

Following a directive from Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to organise such Adi Dravidar Art Festivals throughout the State, the Department of Art and Culture launched the exercise, kicking off the series with a festival in Srirangam a couple of weeks ago. As part of the move, one such festival was organised in Karur where the department arranged an ensemble of mangala isai, thappattam, bharatanatyam, band music, kummiyattam, and the renowned folk drama Harischandra Mayana Kandam. The specialty of the festival was that around 100 artistes who performed on stage were from the Adi Dravidar communities. Combining natural skill with nuanced innovation they displayed a perfect sense of timing and anticipation to remind all they were lagging the others in no aspect or facet.

As the scorching summer sun went down to hide behind the horizon yonder, the stage set in the middle of the Municipal Thiruvalluvar Playgrounds in the heart of the town came alive with an auspicious Mangala Isai by the students of the Government Music School, Karur. Then ascended the bubbly boys and girls of the Kutties Rajyam, an umbrella forum sponsored by the Psycho Trust to perform the resplendent Thappattam. The young artistes showed nimble footwork and deft gestures as they swirled and swayed to the thappu’s clarion call thundering a forth. Gelling well with each other, the group mesmerised the audience with their rhythmic performance.

Karur Srinivasan and his troupe rendered the band music, not in the regular monotone means as one could see in marriage parties but parroted some popular numbers from the films of the bygone era. Still they were able to retain the audience with them as the originality of the music emanating from the instruments played by experienced artistes is always refreshing. Similar was the thappattam performance by Jallippatti Bhagavathy Amman troupe.