Culture, rich and varied

Theru-k-koothu ... enhanced by rustic and raw appeal. — Pic. by K. V. Srinivasan.  

— Pic. by K. V. Srinivasan.

FESTIVALS SUCH as these need to be lauded. For they make an attempt to bring to people the rich and varied culture that is present in India, particularly the south. But the unfortunate part is that there are hardly any takers when it comes to paying money and watching these cultural programmes.

A few enthusiasts, most often friends and relatives of the artistes, frequent the hall.

The Marga Festival, which just presented its third edition, makes a brave effort to continue its endeavours of bringing art in all its various forms to audiences in Chennai and is probably not deterred by a lukewarm response.

The organisers hope that one day their efforts will pay off - not just in terms of bringing the discipline of ticketed shows, but also in gathering a cross-section of people to appreciate and understand what makes this country so rich and vibrant.

The three-day festival (September 30 to October 2) at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan was inaugurated by dancer Lakshmi Viswanathan. The presence of Dhananjayan added to the lustre of the brightly lit lamps. Both congratulated Usha Vasanthkumar and Unni Krishnan, the team behind the Marga Festival.

The first day featured a Bharatanatyam recital by Anjana Anand, a graduate of Kalakshetra and Satyanarayan Raju, Artistic Director of Samskruti, The Temple Of Art, Bangalore. The recital was pleasant with the margam being the focus and also marked by a good orchestra. However, compeer could have been brighter and not made all those gaffes, considering that experienced artistes were being presented.

The second day moved to the contemporary mode coupled with Attakalari from Kerala.

The performers spread across the stage in movements and moods that provoked different perceptions about dance in general. The items had their choreographers in Jayachandran, Bettina, Yael Flexer, Abilash Ningappa, Veena Basvaraj and Mirra.

The third day featured Theru-k-koothu, the rich folk art form of Tamil Nadu. Draupadi Vastiraharanam came across right from its original story to contemporary times with dialogue that catered to its primary viewer — the man on the street. Provoking laughter sometimes, the entire production was enhanced by rustic and raw appeal. Vibrant music helped lift the show.