‘Motta Maadi Music’: A musical celebration of Kamal Haasan

Describe the usual things you spot in a neighbourhood terrace. Clothes hanging on a haphazardly-tied line? Some vathal laid out on soft cloth left to dry? Maybe even one of those stones used to wash clothes? As we entered this nondescript terrace in residential Nanganallur, mundane sights like the above didn’t greet us. Rather, we were welcomed to a space that was lit up with fairy lights and strings holding up famous posters of Kamal Haasan and his iconic films. Posters of 16 Vayathinilae, Thevar Magan and other classic films filled the space which was all decked up to host an evening of fun, music and filter coffee. The mood was set. The group singing initiative — Motta Maadi Music — invited people of all ages to come and sing their hearts out. And who better than Kamal Haasan and his repertoire of films to pick from!

Kamal Haasan night at Motta Maadi Music, the seventh this year, saw at least 250 people gather in the packed terrace and make it into a ‘group open-mic session’. The idea is simple. A night dedicated to singing the songs of the Ulaganayagan. But this time around, there was no band to perform the songs. It was the audience who channeled their inner SPB and S Janaki voices to sing.The motley crowd had singers from ages nine to 60 and all of them had one thing in common: love for Tamil film music.

‘Ilamai Idho Idho’, ‘Maarugo Maarugo’ (the one from Sathi Leelavathi)... were some of the many songs that were being shouted out as suggestions. The best part about Motta Maadi Music is that the entry is free, which makes it approachable to folks who want to sing their favourite songs without inhibitions. The crowd consisted mostly of young people who knew the Ilaiyaraaja-Kamal songs by rote. “My aim for this initiative is to promote independent and original musicians,” says Badhri, the organiser.

Badhri and his friends choose the first and the last song for the evening, and everything in between is basically up for grabs. The evening started off with ‘Poo Vaasam’ from Anbe Sivam and ended in a full circle with the titular song from Anbe Sivam. As the evening progressed, the budding singers let lose their inhibitions and were soon singing the famous hits of the star. Some of the most loved songs were ‘Inji Idupazhaga’, ‘Kanmani Anbodu’, ‘Swasame’, ‘Kaasu Mela’ among others. With Badhri’s band Hrudhya providing the background music, the audience were led and engaged to sing, keeping in line with the tempo. Almost everyone in the crowd had their phones out as each song changed at lightning speed; you wouldn’t want to be fumbling around for lyrics when the atmosphere is abuzz with enthusiasm. From a nine-year-old girl who requested for ‘Sippi Irukudhu’ to a 50-plus-aged gentleman who wanted people to sing ‘Kamban Emanthaan’, the evening was filled with unexpected song choices. “The best part about this initiative is the interactivity,” says 21-year-old Varsha. “I have known about Motta Maadi Music for quite some time now. We just had to come to Kamal Night,” says Deepak. A part of the evening was a small performance that was a tribute to late violinist Balabhaskar.

The next event will be a Rajinikanth night, which is being planned in December.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2020 8:50:30 PM |

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