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A boost for dying arts and crafts

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SUPPORTIVE ROLE: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi with Kanimozhi at the closing ceremony of Chennai Sangamam at the old MLAs Hostel on Monday.
SUPPORTIVE ROLE: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi with Kanimozhi at the closing ceremony of Chennai Sangamam at the old MLAs Hostel on Monday.

R. Sujatha

Chennai Sangamam ends

CHENNAI: A push and a shove, and the Chennai Sangamam festival could well be on its way to success.

The weeklong festivities in Chennai ended on Monday with Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi making an unscheduled visit to the valedictory held at the old MLAs hostel in Government Estate. The grateful artistes appreciated it by presenting an impromptu `mannin pattu' (song of the soil) in praise of Tamil Maiyam, Tourism Department, and the Chief Minister.

He also watched half-a-dozen groups of artistes perform. That Kanimozhi, the driving force behind the Chennai festival, was seen with her father, the CM, may be essential for the festival's future. "It is not fair to look at it [the festival] as being done because I am related to the CM," Ms. Kanimozhi, coordinator of Tamil Maiyam, said. Despite her denial, the mere presence of the head of a government at the festival could provide the necessary impetus.

What has been set in motion may not be a novel idea but could boost dying arts and crafts of the State by showcasing them to generations that have grown up on cinema and television, say residents and participants.

Ms. Kanimozhi, co-ordinator of Tamil Maiyam said: "When we started contacting people we found that we had 37 art forms and 60 art groups. About 700 artistes from across the state presented the various art forms."

The funds for the festival were raised from corporate and business houses. Though no figures on the amounts spent are forthcoming for the event, Chennai Sangamam, held on a grand scale, has benefited from the generous support of benefactors and the government.

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