Saturday, December 13, 2014

Margazhi Maha Utsavam & Tamizh padham

Margazhi Maha Utsavam is in its 15th year! Subhashree Tanikachalam, VK Manimaran and the Maximum Media team have built a brilliant brand that draws huge audiences worldwide both at the venue and on its subsequent telecasts. They have had a few hiccups along the way but their basic passion to the art, philosophy of not compromising on quality and professionalism in dealing with everyone has helped them to establish themselves on the December/Margazhi Chennai landscape. Congratulations!

This year of course there is change in the venue as well as the telecasting channel. The concerts are being held at the Youth Hostel in indira Nagar, Chennai (where the Hamsadhwani concerts take place) while I understand a few were held at the ISCON centre in Tiruvanmiyur. The theme I have chosen this year is Tamizh Padam. Every year I enjoy working on a theme focussing specifically on different Tamizh compositions.

Tamizh padham is a compositional form that has a deep rooted tradition in Bharatanatyam as well as carnatic music concerts especially from the last 150 years or so. In the 20th century 3 characteristics essentially defined a Tamizh padham.

1. The lyrics portrayed Sringara rasa primarily. The distinction could be in the identity of the nayika being either the Lord himself or a Maharaja or a wealthy patron.
2. The songs were basically in the traditionally defined ‘rakthi’ ragams.
3. The tempo generally being of a slow nature, though this can also be attributed to a personal preference, but I think you get the drift!

In carnatic music concerts padhams were sung mostly as part of the ‘miscellaneous’ component post Ragam Tanam Pallavi. The compositions however are beautiful and offer enough scope to be sung anywhere I think. My personal inspiration for choosing this theme was an radio programme that my grand aunt & guru Smt Rukmini Rajagopalan sang almost 35 years ago. Still remember her singing Innum paraamukham (Begada), Yaar poi solver (Todi), Nitthirayil (Pantuvarali), Ethanai sonnaaalum (Saveri) and Velavare (Bhairavi) in that programme. I have been fortunate that besides my grand aunt, both Shri KSK and Shri SRD Vaidyanathan  have taught me several Tamizh padhams. Last year was my grand aunt centenary year and I had wanted to do this programme. Unfortunately it did not materialise, however I have sung the same this year for the Margazhi Maha Utsavam. 

Sanjay Subrahmanyan

PS: It has been confirmed that telecast will happen on Sun TV between 6.00 and 7.00 am everyday from the 15th of December.

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