How blessed is the MAD-ras season for people in Madras?
(Excerpted from the narthaki Discussion Forum)


January 22, 2008

The season is great but to get a chance in the sabha money is involved (Rs.4,000 to 40,000). Will the scenario change? Will the sabhas give chances to talent than money?
- Sasirekha Rammohan, Dec 18, 2007

I read in Hindu and Kutcheribuzz that a few Sabha season inauguration dance performers had only a dozen spectators.
- Sangeetha, Dec 11, 2007

Rajeshwari Sainath's EVENING program in Sri Krishna Gana Sabha (SKGS): 30 spectators. Same for Odissi by Sujatha Mohapatra (she was great, except for some of her mukha abhinaya - coquettish).
SKGS morning (9am) dance prog - what, you expected more than two dozen spectators???

Urmila Sathyanarayanan in Meenakshi College: 300 spectators. I never saw a program by Urmila Sathyanarayanan with less than 300 spectators. Not as good as Alarmel Valli's numbers, though :-) Urmila is the second. She has such a refined grace!!!!! and stage presence!!!

Big schools like Revathi Ramachandran's (schoolmates, relatives, and so on): 300 spectators at Rama Rao Kala Mandapam for a TICKETED program.

Compare: M Sai Dheera (Vijay Madhavan's student) - very good dancer, at the VDS Arts Academy - she had about 80 spectators.

Next day at VDS: S Haritha (10 y. o. girl), cannot dance at all, but her parents brought their entire cement company (300 people?) employees!
So far the corporate and political clans, and big schools are the only ones who have many (sleeping) spectators.

Was Janeni right when she wrote that live programs are the things of the past?
- Divya Shankar, Dec 11, 2007

Thanks to Mad-Ras civic administration, almost all the roads are blocked everywhere in the city due to construction of flyovers plus regular repairs. Thus reaching Krishna Gana Sabha was a difficult task. Many regular participants avoided attending the conference this year.

An interesting topic, Sangeetham in Dance was the theme for this year's Natya Kala Conference. Convener Bharati Shivaji did a good job of bringing dance forms from all over India to represent. However not a single dance music composer was invited to present a paper nor a single session had a collaborative presentation by a dancer / choreographer and composer.

Very unfortunate.

- G S Rajan (music composer for dance), Dec 29, 2007

I agree with GS Rajan about the lack of musicians and composers at the NKC conference at Krishna Gana Sabha. Without the active collaboration of sensitive musicians - either through recordings or as live accompanists, dancers would have little to dance and sing about!

My dance actively seeks the EQUAL participation of the composer and the musicians since I consider a performance as "DANCE AND MUSIC" and not "DANCE with MUSIC" or "MUSIC for DANCE."

I hope that the next convener is able to include all aspects of the topic rather than only concentrate on the dancers.

- Anita Ratnam, Dec 30, 2007

Thanks to Mad-Ras civic administration, almost all the roads are blocked everywhere in the city due to construction of flyovers plus regular repairs. Thus reaching Krishna Gana Sabha was a difficult task. Many regular participants avoided attending the conference this year.
Hundreds of artists and rasikas visit Mad-ras during the months of December and January to attend concerts. However the situation in the city is pathetic and it has gone to worse over the years. Traffic jams have become a real menace. People can't move at all. Taxis and three-wheelers are over charging. If questioned, they abuse you and no policeman comes forward to help you.

This way people will stop coming to Chennai in December and January and this popular music and dance season might slowly vanish forever.

It is time for Sabha secretaries and officials to come forward and jointly take some action.
- G S Rajan, Dec 29, 2007)

If you stay in T Nagar or Mylapore, many sabhas are within a walking distance. However, if you want to come by auto from Mylapore to T Nagar between 17.00 and 20.00, it will take you 1 hour or more. Yes, the traffic is going to be worse every year. The travelling time during the rush hour is increasing by 20% every year. But if you want to navigate between the cars on a two-wheeler, the increase will be only 10% or so.

It is a wonderful opportunity for the smaller towns in Tamil Nadu to promote their festivals like Natyanjali.

And it is a wonderful opportunity for rasikas all over the world to watch the concerts on TV, over the Internet, and to buy music CD's. :-) It is wonderful because the quality of the sound on CD will be so much better, and even on TV. I am sure that most rasikas's homes have much better speakers than the rusted pre-historic boxes that distort the music beyond recognition at the “live” concerts in Madras. Musicians will at last stop cheating us!

Long live Chennai's traffic congestion!!! :-)
- Kannan, Dec 29, 2007


I agree that getting VCD or DVD of the performances would be much better quality than live and provide the artist perhaps with an additional small fee?

In the EU there is one TV channel called ARTE who in the past devoted programs to international dance. I once witnessed BN dancer Kiran Mai do a poem of Tagore. They probably could be interested to do items like Anita Ratnam's latest Neo Bharatam like Neelam, Faces etc., their audience would like this. Unfortunately I read they had to cut down budget on dance, sorry.

Can you name a link of any Chennai TV Station, Sat or IP TV that broadcasts live BN? I can receive on the Internet, Samskar TV, Raj TV, Doodarshan, Sify, Sri TV, Bollywood from Mauritius, Balinese TV - but they all come with bad quality and I never catch any BN? Maybe it's my fault not knowing the program schedule and international time lapse too well? :-)
- Raga, Dec 30, 2007

DD Podhigai will start a new, 'Thaka-dhimi-tha' like game show from 2008, in addition to other BN progs. Raj TV has some BN progs already. The new Mega TV will show a lot of BN and can be received from London to Auckland. Sun TV has Kalai Cholai.

I not sure you will get Tamilian, I am afraid.
Please call the channels or email them and tell them that you want to see more Bharatanatyam. If we get more lobbying like that, I promise more Bharatanatyam will appear. If the rasikas and dancers do not pressurise the channels, they will continue to show pop.
- Kannan, Dec 30, 2007