P.S. Sachu, member-secretary of Tamil Nadu Iyal Isai Nataka Mandram, is upbeat about the initiative. She says:

We’d love to host such programmes more often in Chennai. This is necessary, especially for children, because the practice of story telling at home has almost vanished. They should be exposed to folk arts such as Bommalattam and Therukoothu. The Government is keen on promoting our traditional arts and we propose to take these forms to schools. These performances can become part of wedding entertainment. There is plenty of demand from abroad for Tamil Nadu’s art forms - Pinnal Kolattam, Kummi, Kolattam, Kavadi Sindhu and so on. It should be remembered that heritage that includes traditional arts is the focus of our tourism.

Deva, Manram president, himself a composer and musician envies the range and stamina of the folk artists. “I have postponed recordings when my voice has played truant. But these artists are always ready. I have witnessed ‘Arjunan Tapas’ that used to begin at 10 p.m. and extend till 11 a.m. the next day. What stamina and perseverance and commitment. Our Chief Minister is giving great encouragement to these ventures that should take the art and the artists to the next level.”

S.S.