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Season's gratings

Santhanam sundal and
Lalgudi laddu?


The canteen at the most prestigious sabha in Madras offers items named after the music maestros

If you ever needed proof of just how deeply music can influence a man, you should see the menu at the Music Academy canteen.

Every day, its manager not only feeds hungry rasikas, but also thinks up some novel way of linking his fare to music.

December 17, for instance, was dedicated to the "mummorthigal" GNB, Chowdaiah and Palghat Mani Iyer. What a variety from the three southern states!

While GNB graced dishes like Karamani Usili and Kalyana Rasam, the violin maestro Chowdaiah lent his name to Aval Payasam. The main course was dedicated to Mani Iyer.

Asked the caterer, Arusuvai Natarajan, only half in jest, "What else do you want at 3 p.m.?"

Tamburi roti?

Love thy rival

Does competition inspire better performance or hamper growth?

Traditionally, whether in sports or academics, competition is believed to bring out the best in an individual.

Of course, this view was discouraged by philosophers like J Krishnamurthy, to whom any form of competition was anathema.

The present crop of young Karnatak musicians, bar a couple, seem to believe that excellence is something they have to achieve within themselves, something which does not need you to hate your neighbour. In this case, the singer performing after you!

Mrs Y G Parthasarathy, educationist and patron of the arts, never one to mince her words, said at a concert at Bharat Kalachar that the present mood of camaraderie among the young artistes was heartening. Here was Unnikrishnan, for example, sitting and listening to T M Krishna. Never would a Semmangudi or an Ariyakudi have done this, their egos would not have permitted it, Rashmi Aunty, as she is known popularly, said.

She also appreciated Krishna for his wild gesticulations during the concert, calling them by the affectionate Tamil word "seshtai", which roughly means antics. The senior vidwans used to indulge in such actions and she was glad that the youngsters were following suit, keeping up the "level of masculinity in music"!

Drama nee samaanamevaru

It is just sa ri ga ma that is making waves at the music season this year. All the sabhas except the exalted Music Academy have included a generous sprinkling of drama among the fare on offer, well aware that there is nothing better than some histrionics to elevate the spirits or bring about catharsis.

The Nungambakkam Cultural Academy is proud to have in its programme plays by the noted playwright Cho Ramaswamy, the "King of Kadi" S V Sekhar and comedian Crazy Mohan.

S V Sekhar's Periappa (a la Padayappa featuring that superstar of Karnataka origin, Rajnikanth), is a satire on politics and its paradoxes. The characters include Tamarai, Chinnamma, Cycle Sankaralingam, Surya Prakasam and, of course, Periappa.

We leave you to work out who these characters are meant to represent!

Padma Ranganathan

Why have all the tamburas gone? Read more season reports

Wisdom from the veteran: What Semmangudi is saying


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