Kerala

Kanhangad the cynosure of all eyes

Arts days from today The main venue of the 60th State School Arts Festival at Aingoth Ground in Kanhangad all ready to welcome participants and art aficionados. The four-day event will begin on Thursday. K. Ragesh

Arts days from today The main venue of the 60th State School Arts Festival at Aingoth Ground in Kanhangad all ready to welcome participants and art aficionados. The four-day event will begin on Thursday. K. Ragesh  

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60th edition of school arts fest to see 12,000 participants, 239 events, 28 stages

Sixty. That is how old this matchless festival of schoolchildren is. It truly has been a magnificent journey for the State School Arts Festival. A journey that began on a humble note at the Government Girls High School, Ernakulam, in 1957 with some 400 students and 18 events continues to fascinate the State.

There is excitement in the air in this bustling town, which is all decked up to welcome the 12,000-odd students for the 60th edition of the festival which opens on Thursday. There is plenty to look forward to over the next four days.

As many as 239 events will be held across 28 stages, some of which are at the neighbouring Neeleswaram and Ajanoor. The main venue has been set up at Aingoth, which could seat about 6,000. You could very well expect spectators in multiples of that number.

Response

For, whenever the festival has been staged in northern parts of Kerala, the response has been tremendous. The festivals of Malappuram (2013) and Kozhikode (2015) are fresh in memory. More than 25,000 people would come to watch Bharatanatyam and some 40,000 for Oppana.

Kanhnagad is unlikely to disappoint on that account. After all, this is the first time it is hosting the festival. And it is only the second time for the district, in the six-decade old history of a festival, which has no parallel anywhere else in the world.

At no other festival you would get to see so many different art forms. And it is not just the popular events like classical dances, including Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam and Kuchipudi, that you could enjoy. There also art forms like Kathakali, Ottan Thullal, Margam Kali and Thiruvathirakali.

For the musically inclined, there is classical, light and instrumental. Then there are the even more popular drama and mimicry competitions.

Variety, quality

It is not just the sheer variety that has made the festival what it is. There is also the quality.

These performers may be pretty young and relatively inexperienced. But, they are the future. And that is what the past tells us: after all, singers K.J. Yesudas, P. Jayachandran, K.S. Chithra, Sujatha and G. Venugopal, actors like Manju Warrier and Vineeth, and dancers like Neena Prasad have all dazzled on the festival stage before launching their professional careers on bigger platforms.

Hard-working teachers and government officials have ensured the festival retained its stature all these years. And the adoring spectators make the festival an unforgettable experience year after year.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 7:51:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kanhangad-the-cynosure-of-all-eyes/article30100151.ece

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