FRIDAY REVIEW

Festival of Mapila art

THE THREE-day Moyinkutty Vaidyar Maholsav that was held recently at Kondotty saw many Mapila art lovers from different walks of life. Their tastes varied; but there were no two opinions among them about the pioneering role played by Moyinkutty Vaidyar. The legendary Mapila poet shaped Mapila poetry. His poetry shaped the literary tastes of generations of lovers of Mapila art forms. That is why the commemoration of the Vaidyar is now being celebrated as a festival of Mapila art.

There is no one who can overshadow Moyinkutty Vaidyar in Mapila lyrics. Each singer or lyricist pays tributes to this genius. Little wonder then that no stage of Mapila arts goes without a mention of Moyinkutty Vaidyar.

Other than his works, not much is known about Moyinkutty Vaidyar. He lived at Kondotty, the centre of Eranaadan culture. There are no existing pictures of this genius Therefore, the legend lives through a unique trans-literary genre called Arabi-Malayalam.

The maholsavam was not a mere commemoration of Moyinkutty Vaidyar. It was an earnest attempt to carry forward a culture that does not have many takers.

There were many moments when the realisation dawned on many people that Mapila literature had not advanced much from the point where Moyinkutty Vaidyar left it.

There were competitions in penning and rendering of Mapila songs; quizzes on Arabi-Malayalam literature; exhibitions of paintings and books; seminars on Mapila literature; musical evenings titled `Ishal sandhya;' there was even a poets meet; and there was a unique session on Mapila humour.

Mapila humour, though not so easy for non-Malabaris to understand, has its own niche. What one saw here failed in originality and creativity. Yet, over a dozen men, both young and old, who took part in the Mapila humour contest, succeeded in sending the audience into peals of laughter.

Their humour touched upon various aspects of Mapila life. From the rustic Mapila man to the not-so-sophisticated mullah, almost every other person one met in daily life were featured in the jokes. Seeti Haji turned out to be the most-preferred subject of Mapila humour. Some of the humour touched the fringes of vulgarity; yet, jokes as they were, the audience enjoyed them. Abdul Hameed from Kizhisseri won the first prize, followed by Shameem K. and Rasheed V. But the biggest joke of the evening, the winners said, was that they won the competition.

`Ishal sandhyas' or Mapila musical evenings were well received by the audience. Songs of old and new generations were rendered by noted Mapila artistes like V.M. Kutty, Moosa Eranjoli, K.V. Abootty, K.G. Sattar, PNM Alikoya, Eranjikkal Ummer, Ishrath Sabah, Cicily and Mannur Prakashan. Popular singers like S.A. Jameel, Vilayil Fazeela, Rahana, Azeez Thayineri, V.T. Murali and Siballa Sadanandan were among those who gave a memorable finale to the festival by rendering Vaidyar's songs.

But one man stole the heart of everyone in the audience. P. Mohammed from Valluvambram, in his 80s, came on to the stage uninvited and sang a song beginning with `Paripavanamaya Sahodaranmaare.' He held the audience spellbound by his sonorous voice. People showered him with currency notes and when he finished singing, he got a standing ovation.

Eleven senior artistes were honoured during the festival for their contributions to Mapila art and literature. They were S.A. Jameel, K.B. Aboobaker Haji, P.N.M. Alikoya, Azeez Thayineri, Bakker Edakkazhiyur, P.P. Mohammedkutty Moulavi, Valiyakath Kuttiali, K.M. Bava, Aboobakker Kizhisseri, Abdul Khader Pulpetta and Eranjikkal Ummer.

ABDUL LATHEEF NAHA

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