The 43rd edition of Soorya Festival in Thiruvananthapuram goes online

K J Yesudas at a previous edition of Soorya Festival in Thiruvananthapuram   | Photo Credit: S Mahinsha


Curtains go up for the 43rd edition of Soorya Festival on October 1. This year, the 111-day festival, considered the longest cultural fete in the world, will be a 11-day online fete. Since there are restrictions on live programmes in view of the pandemic, performances will be streamed on the new YouTube channel of Soorya, the cultural society that organises the fete.

The annual Soorya Festival, a cultural extravaganza held at various venues in Thiruvananthapuram, features classical music and dance, cinema, theatre, ghazals, painting exhibition, photography workshop, literary session, folk art forms, talk festival and more. The online festival will have pre-recorded performances by classical musicians and dancers.

Meenakshi Srinivasan presenting Bharatanatyam at an edition of Soorya Festival in Thiruvananthapuram

Meenakshi Srinivasan presenting Bharatanatyam at an edition of Soorya Festival in Thiruvananthapuram   | Photo Credit: Hareesh N Nampoothiri

“We didn’t want to discontinue the tradition of Soorya and chose to go in for an online festival,” says Soorya Krishnamoorthy, founder of Soorya, which has chapters in 38 countries. Every year, the festival begins on September 21 while the dance and music segment commences on October 1 with a concert by KJ Yesudas. The online fete also begins with his concert. “The day has been reserved for him over the years and we didn’t want to change that,” says Krishnamoorthy. Except once when he had a performance in Australia, the veteran’s concert was always held on October 1.

The online fete has Bharatanatyam performances by Meenakshi Srinivasan (October 2), Priyadarsini Govind (October 3), Divyaa Unni (October 4), Rama Vaidyanathan (October 5), Janaki Rangarajan (October 6), Lakshmy Gopalaswamy (October 8), Manju Warrier (October 9) and Asha Sharath (October 10). Mohiniyattam by Neena Prasad is on October 7. On the final day, October 11, Hindustani musician Pandit Ramesh Narayan pays homage to Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Pandit Jasraj.

Mohiniyattam danseuse Neena Prasad

Mohiniyattam danseuse Neena Prasad   | Photo Credit: Hareesh N Nampoothiri

While Yesudas’ concert will be of 20 minutes, all other performances will be 30-minute recitals. Since programmes of the Soorya Festival begin at 6.45 pm, the concerts will also be uploaded at the same time.

On stage

Soorya is also planning stage performances with a 56-day festival, starting December 21, provided the situation is conducive to hold live events. “It will be called the National Festival of Youth, with each day devoted to 56 Malayalam alphabets. It will be the 44th edition of the Soorya Festival. We have already fixed the schedule featuring film screenings, theatre, music, dance and lectures,” Krishnamoorthy says.

Meanwhile, office-bearers of Soorya have been posting YouTube links of select content from cultural festivals, films, plays, talks and so on on WhatsApp for members of the cultural organisation. “We started this when the lockdown was announced and this online festival will complete 300 days by December 21,” Krishnamoorthy says.

Subscribe to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7MEQJIkjvDKHKygM27psHA to watch Soorya Festival.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 12:35:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/soorya-festival-goes-online/article32731732.ece

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