On Saturday, when Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi officially launches the anthem that he wrote for the World Classical Tamil Conference, anyone with an interest in Tamil poetry, music or the visual arts will have enough reason to celebrate.
With Oscar-winning musician A. R. Rahman scoring the music and noted director Gautham Vasudev Menon filming the song, the final version promises to be quite an audio-visual treat, besides being a fine tribute to the classical language.
Over 50 top-notch artists from different genres, including playback music, Carnatic, folk and Sufi have participated in this rare, special confluence.
It is not often that some of the greatest playback singers such as T. M. Soundararajan, P. Suseela, leading Carnatic singers, including Aruna Sairam, T. M. Krishna, Nithyasree Mahadevan, Bombay Jayashri, noted folk and playback singer Chinna Ponnu, and other young singers such as Karthik, Shruti Haasan perform together. When they do, it is bound to sound rather special. Particularly so, when Rahman composes the music.
“Once I heard the song, I decided to shoot in a way in which the focus remains on the lyrics and music, which are very important for this occasion,” says Gautham Vasudev Menon.
His team not only captured visuals across the State through off-beat, aerial shots right from Kanyakumari, but also filmed a series of sequences representative of the Tamil culture and ethos.
In one sequence, all performers gather by the sea, against an elegant backdrop reading “Semmozhiyaana Tamizh Mozhiyae”. “That was truly exhilarating,” says veteran Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam.
“The fact that the Chief Minister has penned the lyric bringing out the splendour of the language, with references to the kappiyams, and that Rahmanji has scored the music makes it very high in value to start with,” she adds.
“Then, Gautham Menon blends the visuals in such a pleasing, effortless manner. It is, indeed, a collage of voices and sounds, with masterly strokes from remarkable artists,” says Ms. Sairam, terming the experience “a blessing”.
As Member of Parliament Kanimozhi puts it, the anthem has both a classical and contemporary appeal. “It is very young and vibrant and will certainly appeal to all sections. The anthem showcases the richness of the Tamil culture through literature, the arts, our architecture and so on.”
Noted Bharatanatyam dancer Srinidhi Chidambaram, who has also performed for the anthem, says it was thrilling to be performing to a song created by such eminent persons. “I felt really honoured…the song is a tribute to Tamil, Tamil Nadu and Tamil people. It evoked a great sense of pride in me.”
In a message on the anthem, written in the form of a short poem, Mr. Karunanidhi says he only saw this opportunity as a boon to pay a tribute to Tamil through the anthem, but did not expect to put together a piece that brings out the sweetness of Tamil literature and its epics. Many who have listened to the anthem, point to its beauty, which transcends geographical boundaries.
On Saturday, Mr. Karunanidhi will officially launch the anthem at the Centenary Auditorium, University of Madras. It would be played at theatres, on television and other forums in the run-up to the conference to be held in June, in Coimbatore.
Keywords: World Classical Tamil Conference