A solution to infrastructure problems

Here is a solution to the infrastructure problems of this country from who else but our very own Superstar (Rajnikanth). See how he lays roads wherever he goes in this trailer of his eagerly awaited movie “Sivaji”.

I must thank my friend ‘Captain’ (no .. no … not that one) for pointing this out.

Wonder what all the movie will do if the trailer itself throws up such innovative solutions, ;-)

Cheeni Kum: Review



Its been ages since I saw last a good Bollywood movie. I went to “Cheeni Kum” with very low expectations as the movie had a bold story line and as it came after Nishabd which was such a @#@$#$ ….. … well …. lets move on to better things in life. I think Cheeni Kum’s director and his team have done a wonderful job, considering the difficulties in making a meaningful movie using such a story line.

The story in short: 64 year old Budhadev Gupta (Amitabh) is the owner, in his own words, of “London’s finest Indian restaurant” Spice6. 34 year old Nina Verma (Tabu) is a software professional from India. Budha’s pride is challenged when Nina returns a dish in his restaurant. Budha challenges her, comments on her lack of taste but later discovers that it is his staff that has erred. Budha’s desire to say sorry and his subsequent meetings with Nina sparks off the romance between them. Watch the movie for more.

Amitabh and Tabu have portrayed their characters very well. Tabu looks fabulous !!!!! I can’t imagine any one else fitting the role better. Special mention must be made of the kid Swini Khara. She plays Amitabh’s 9 year old neighbour and close confidante. The role looks tailor made for her and she seems to have made the most of what was offered to her. What a brilliant performance !! Zohra Sehgal, who plays Amitabh’s WWE-obsessed mother, has also acted well. Humor is sprinkled all throughout the movie with all characters, especially Amitabh’s kitchen staff, contributing to it.

The music is good. Ilayaraja scores with modernized versions of his old tracks and shows he is still a force to reckon with. Shreya Ghoshal’s voice adds all the cheeni that is required.

I would be doing a grave injustice if I didn’t mention about the camera work. What a fine job by PC Sreeram. Just too good !!

The second half seems to slacken a bit, especially with Paresh Rawal, who plays the role of Nina’s dad, hell bent on streching a one dayer to a five day test match. Otherwise, the movie has been made very well.

Cheeni kum hai, par mithas barkaraar hai. Jaao, chak lo !!!!

PS: I watched the movie in Sathyam Cinemas’ 6 Degrees and I must say that the comfortable seats and the well maintained theater contributed a lot towards the nice experience. Hope they maintain such high standards in the future too.







































(Images courtesy: http://movies.sulekha.com, http://www.sawf.org , http://www.cinemaclock.com , http://www.bollyvista.com)

S. Malavika @ HCL Concert Series, Chennai

Venue: Kasturi Srinivasan Hall, Music Academy, TTK Road, Chennai

Date: 26 May 2007

Organizer: HCL & Music Academy (HCL Concert Series)

Vocal: Vid S. Malavika

Violin: Vid Akkarai Swarnalatha

Mrudangam: Vid Trivandrum Hariharan

List of songs:

1) vanajAkshi (varnam) – kalyANi – kanDa aTa – pallavi gOpAla iyer (O)

2) tatvamariya taramA – rItigowLa – Adi – pApanAsam sivan (S)

3) sharavaNa bhava enum tirumandiram – shanmugapriyA – Adi – pApanAsam sivan

4) sarisamAna deivamulEdani – viTapi – Adi – spencer vENugOpAl (S)

5) tyAgarAjAya namastE – bEgaDA – rUpakam – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (A)

6) durmArga carAdamulanu – ranjani – rUpakam – thyAgarAja

7) swAmikku sari evvarE – kEdAragauLa – misra cApu – pApanAsam sivan (AS)

8 ) nArAyaNA ninna – sudha danyAsi – kanDa cApu – purandaradAsa

9) rAgam tAnam pallavi – kalyANi – Adi (2 kaLai) (T)

pallavi wordings: “kAmAkSi mAtangi brOvavE, kamalanayanE kanci”

10) dhIm tana dhIm (tillAnA) – behAg – Adi (tisra gati) – lAlguDi g. jayarAman

11) sIr siRakkumEni (tiruppugazh) – rAgamAlikA – kanDa tripuTa – aruNagirinAthar

12) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – saurAshTram – Adi – thyAgarAja

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

Vid S. Malavika, a student of veteran vaiNika Smt. Padmavathy Ananthagopalan, presented a very very impressive concert. Her singing showed a lot of maturity. It was as though one was hearing a very experienced artist. She sang each sangati multiple times adopting an unhurried approach. Bhrigas seemed to come to her effortlessly. Her alapanas had many of those piDis that characterize the ragas she chose for elaboration. kEdAragauLa and kalyANi alapanas need special mention.

She was very ably accompanied by Vid Akkarai Swarnalatha on the violin and Vid Trivandrum Hariharan on the mrudangam. Vid Swarnalatha was especially impressive in the pallavi rendition. She seemed to grasp the calculations very quickly, both while playing the pallavi in trikAlam as well as while playing kalpana swarams in tisra gati. Vid Hariharan played well for all the songs. His accompaniment for the aTa tALa varnam needs special mention. Taniavartanam had the catusra and tisra naDais.

The pallavi was structured as follows (B = 1 beat, 1 Avartanam of Adi (2 kaLai) = 16 beats, starts 1B after samam ):

kA (1.5B) mAkSi (1.5B) mA (1B) tangi (1.5B) brO (1B) va (0.5B) vE (+ gap = 3.5B) ka (0.5B) ma (0.5B) la (1B) na (0.5B) ya (0.5B) nE (1B) kanci (1.5B)

Whoever tuned the (rAgamAlikA) tiruppugazh she sang has done a nice job. Each set of 2-3 lines brought out the essence of the rAga it was based in. If I remember correctly, the ragas were shankarAbharaNam (?), husEni, sArangA, aTANA, vasantA, sAmA, amrutavarshiNi and suruTTi.

Vid Malavika is certainly an artist to watch out for.


Captain Mania Returns – 2

Captain mania continues:

… does heart (?) surgery using mobile phones !!

… the statistician !! Importance of Captain’s “soo” highlighted !!

… bullet takes U-turn upon hitting Captain !!

Captain Mania Returns – 1

Captain, one of the greatest stars of World Cinema, for your viewing pleasure:

Lights cigarette with his blood; sends villains flying by touching his moustache

Gives some work to his arms and legs too

Gives shock to electricity itself

Types in Windows Media Player !!! Eats, drinks and breathes teamwork !!!!!

Indian Superheroes

Indian superheroes for your viewing pleasure:

Superman & Spiderwoman together. Spiderwoman even flies by herself:

Superman in action:

A Superman-like superhero performing cosmic dance (comes with English subtitles so that one can understand the technicalities ;-) ):

Chennai 600028

Picture this …. you are watching a movie from DVD on your color TV (1989 make) at home with your family and friends, with the digital sound trying to come out from the TV’s speakers. You are sitting on the floor, having sugary, watery lemonade to beat the summer heat and some half-roasted popcorn to get that feeling of watching a movie in a multiplex. Suddenly something comes and bites you and you realize you are the latest victim of the ant menace that has surfaced again this summer too.

Replace your TV screen and speakers with those of this multiplex, the lemonade with Mountain Dew, the floor with some seats made of hard rock, the ants with mootta poochis (don’t know what they are called in English but imagine any insect whose touch will leave you with a day full of itches), litter the floor with popcorns and what not, and you are not in your home but in a famed multiplex at the outskirts of Chennai. So much for home entertainment !!

Coming back to the topic at hand, “Chennai 600028″ is a Tamil movie centered around the rivalry between two local gali cricket teams – (Visalakshi Thottam) Sharks and (Royapuram) Rockers. The rivalry is so intense that they are hell bent on beating each other both on and off the field. The movie starts Lagaan style with a big map of India (or was it a world map?) that is joomed in (Captain style) to show Tamil Nadu, its districts and finally Chennai. The movie is about the days leading to the gali cricket tournament which both teams want to win. The theme of gali cricket helps the director to make a connection with the audience (as many would have played cricket in the gali with a tennis ball) and also helps to keep the budget really low, especially with boys-next-door and the girls-next-door making up the star cast. The comedy element surfaces from time to time reminding viewers that they at least have something to fall back upon (especially with such hard seats in the movie hall). The movie must have been shot with the help of a Doordarshan camera man because the lighting is pathetic in many of the scenes and in one match sequence, the ball goes somewhere else while the focus is on the players who, if I remember correctly, are celebrating the fall of a wicket.

The actors, though appearing like amateurs, have portrayed their characters well. Their portrayal gives the movie a realistic feel. The ending is different from that in conventional films. The music is okay stuff. Some songs are peppy. Some are not required at all. They could have been restricted to just the audio release, if there was any absolute necessity to include them somewhere. They just slacken the pace of the movie. And, if the itches from the mootta poochis weren’t enough, there was this “Enna koduma sir idhu” dialogue that would make you pul-arichufy every time it came.

On the whole, the movie is a good attempt at a theme that is different from the usual ones that are taken up in Tamil movies. The movie can be a good watch provided you choose one of the better multiplexes within the city.

Prarthana Rao @ TTD Information Center, Chennai

Venue: TTD Information Center, Venkatanarayana Road, T. Nagar, Chennai

Date: 21 May 2007

Organizer: TTD Information Center

Vocal: Vid Prarthana Rao

Violin: Vid Karaikkal Venkatasubramaniam

Mrudangam: Vid Erode Nagaraj

Tambura: Vid Keerthana Rao

List of songs:

1) inta mODi (varnam) – sArangA – Adi – tiruvOtriyUr tyAgayya (O)

2) vandE anisham aham – hamsadhwani – Adi – mysore vAsudEvAcAr (S)

3) sAdincanE - Arabhi – Adi – tyAgarAja

4) cani tODi tEvE – harikAmbOji – Adi – tyAgarAja (ANS)

5) shrInivAsa nInE pAlisO – Anandabhairavi – Adi – purandaradAsa

6) innu daya bAradE – kalyANavasantam – kanDa cApu – purandaradAsa (A)

7) praNamAmyaham shrI prANanAtham – ranjani – misra tripuTa – mysore vAsudEvAcAr

8 ) kamalAmbAm bhajarE – kalyAni – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (ANST)

9) venkaTAcala nilayam – sindhubhairavi – Adi – purandaradAsa

10) tuNai purindaruL – sudha hindOLam (varamu) – Adi – pApanAsam sivan

11) kurai onrum illai – rAgamAlikA – Adi – c.rAjagOpAlachAri

12) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – saurAshTram – Adi – thyAgarAja

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

Almost a galaxy of composers was represented by the choice of songs, with special emphasis on Purandaradasa & Mysore Vasudevachar. As a result, I got to hear a couple of songs for the first time ( songs 5 & 7 in the above list). I liked the kalyANavasantam alapanas by both the vocalist and the violinst. The experience of Sri Erode Nagaraj shone right through the concert both in the excellent way in which he accompanied for the songs as well as the way in which he played the taniavartanam.

If I remember the announcement made correctly, Vid Prarthana has been under the tutelage of Vid Mani Krishnaswamy, Vid T.K. Govinda Rao & Vid Chengleput Ranganathan and has also been taking guidance from Vid Kadri Gopalnath.

Hindu reviewer SVK’s presence was also announced. I think we can look forward to a review of this concert in the newspaper this Friday.

Gayathri Venkataraghavan @ Sringeri Mutt, Chennai

Venue: Sringeri Jagadguru Pravachana Mandiram, Sringeri Mutt Road, R.A.Puram , Chennai

Date: 19 May 2007

Organizer: Raja Annamalaipuram Bhakta Jana Sabha

Vocal: Vid Gayathri Venkataraghavan

Violin: Vid Akkarai Subhalakshmi

Mrudangam: Vid B. Ganapatiraman

Ghatam: Vid N. Guruprasad

List of songs (incomplete):

1) Om namaha praNavArthAya ? (shlOkam) – hamsadhwani

    vighnarAja krupA sindhO (shlOkam) – hamsadhwani

    yAkundEndu tushAra hAra (shlOkam) – yamunA kalyANi

2) nEra nammiti (varnam) – kAnaDA – kanDa aTa – rAmanAthapuram srInivAsa iyengAr (O)

3) bhajana sEyavE – kEdAram – rUpakam – Anai ayyA (S)

4) pAhimAm shrI rAjarAjEshwari – nATTai – Adi (tisra gati) – shyAma sAstri (OS)

5) okapAri jUDaga rAdA – kalAvati – Adi – tyAgarAja

6) srI kAntImatim – hEmavati – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (AS)

7) inta kaN – bilahari – rUpakam – thyAgarAja

8 ) sAmaja vara gamanA – hindOLam – Adi – thyAgarAja (AS)

9) shAradE vINA vAdana vishAradE – dEvagAndhAri – Adi – pApanAsam sivan


(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

One more of those impressive concerts by Vid Gayathri. I would have loved to stay right till the very end had I not been required to be present elsewhere. I left with a heavy heart just when the stage was set for the main song of the day. Though the recital impressed from the start, the team seemed to just get better and better as each song went by.

Vid Gayathri is one of those musicians whom I admire a lot for her vast repertoire of compositions. Not a single concert of hers has gone by without I being feted to one or more of not-frequently-sung-compositions. Today was the turn of “pAhimAm shrI rAjarAjEshwari” which, though having figured in her earlier concerts and recordings, is not heard much in the concert circuit these days. “okapAri jUDaga rAdA” was also a pleasant surprise as “ennaDu jUtunO” seems to be the more frequent choice of artists when it comes to kalAvatihEmavati and hindOLam alapanas were executed quite well by Vid Gayathri. Vid Akkarai Subhalakshmi was in top form right from the start of the concert. She has got such amazing nAdam. Her alapanas were very very impressive. Her return from US tour is proving to be a boon to Chennai concert-goers. Vid Ganapatiraman and Vid Guruprasad played well. I would have loved to hear them play for the main song and also play the taniavartanam, but for my having to leave early.

SRJ Lec-Dem on Shyama Sastri @ NGS, Chennai

Lecture Demonstration on Sri Shyama Sastri

Venue: Narada Gana Sabha Mini Hall, TTK Road, Chennai

Date: 18 May 2007

Organizer: Narada Gana Sabha (Golden Jubilee Year Music Series)

Vocal: Vid. S.R. Janakiraman (SRJ)

Vocal Support: Vid. Mangala Ravi

Violin: Vid. Akkarai Subbulakshmi

Mrudangam: Vid. K.R. Ganesh

List of songs:

1) prayer – shyAma navAmsham (comprising lines from 9 kritis of Sri Shyama Sastri)

2) kAmAkSI (swarajati) – bhairavi – misra cApu – shyAma sAstri (O)

3) syAma sAstrim namOstutE – sAmA – misra cApu – v. rAghavan – tuned by b. krishnamurthy (O)

4) sangIta trimUrti jyEshTa – sAvEri – kanDa maTyam (2 kaLai) – vidyA shankar – ciTTaswaram by SRJ (A)

5) ninnuvinAga mari – pUrvikalyANi – misra cApu – shyAma sAstri (A)

6) nannu brOvu lalitA – lalitA – misra cApu – shyAma sAstri

7) dEvi brOva – cintAmaNi – Adi – shyAma sAstri (O)

8 ) mAyammA – nATTakurinji – Adi – shyAma sAstri (AST)

9) pAlincu kAmAkSi – madyamAvati – Adi – shyAma sAstri

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

Prof. S. R. Janakiraman presented a lec-dem on Sri Shyama Sastri at the Narada Gana Sabha, ably assisted by Vid. Mangala Ravi, Vid. Akkarai Subbulakshmi and Vid. K.R. Ganesh. In his own words, it was more of a concert of Shyama Sastri kritis interlaced with his appreciation of the kritis than an actual lec-dem.

Prof SRJ said he had learnt most of the kritis he sang in the lec-dem between 1950 and 1960. He started with a prayer which he termed “shyAma navAmsham” comprising lines from nine kritis of Shyama Sastri. He said this was inspired from a 8 line prayer called “shyAma vANi” from a book by Sri Chalagalagudi Venkateswara Sarma (?) titled “Shyama Sastri Kriti Tarangini” published in the year 1950. He said he had added one more line to this 8 line invocation to get the “shyAma navAmsham“. The following were the nine lines:

  1. kAmAkSi anudinamu maravakanE nI pAdamula dikkanucu nammitini shrI kanci (bhairavi)
  2. kAmAkSi nI padayugamu sthiramaninE nammiyunnAnu nA cintalellanu dIrcammA (yadukulakAmbOji)
  3. I jagati gatiyau janulaku mari tEjamuna rAja vinutayau rAjamukhI sarOja nayana suguNa rAjarAjita kAmAkSi (Anandabhairavi)
  4. sumEru madhya vAsini shrI kAmAkSi shyAmakrishNa sOdari gauri (kalyANi)
  5. nIvE anAdaraNa jEsitE ambA nirvahimpa vashamA kAmAkSi (mAnji)
  6. kAmAkSi ninnuvinA bhuvilO prEmatO kApADevarunnArammA vinumA mA talli (cintAmaNi)
  7. mAdhavAdi vinuta sarasijAkshi kanci kAmAkSi tAmasamu sEyakarammA marakatAngi mahA tripurasundari ninnE hridayamupaTTukoni (nATTakurinji)
  8. pannaga bhUshaNuDaina kAnci EkAmrapati manOhAriNI shrI kAmAkSi (pUrvikalyANi)
  9. pAlincu kAmAkSi pAvani pApa shamani amba (madyamAvati)

The following are some of the things that Prof SRJ touched upon. Mistakes could have crept in while I took notes. Corrections, if any, are most welcome:

  • The beauty of the “swarajatis” of Sri Shyama Sastri is that ragas have been shown in them taking a phrase-oriented approach. An example is the bhairavi swarajati. One can just borrow these phrases while one tries to portray bhairavi. After beautifully showing what all does bhairavi include, it seems as though he is saying – “This is what is bhairavi” when he ends the swarajati in “ipuDu shrI bhairavI
  • misra cApu tALam has been used very well in many compositions of Sri Shyama Sastri. The lyrics themselves follow the structure “tha ki Ta, tha ka dhi mi” at many places
  • To describe the trimurtis, one need not read out their biographies. Their works describe who they were and speak for themselves
  • Many of Sri Shyama Sastri kritis are not loaded with vocabulary but capture the essence of the ragas they are based on and also convey the meaning well (in short: quality, not quantity)
  • There is a controversy behind what was lalitA and what was vasantA in the olden times. SRJ said he finds Shri Muthuswami Dikshitar an authority here and like him uses smaller dhaivatam (D1) for lalitA and the bigger one (D2) for vasantA
  • What is cintAmaNi? shanmukhapriyA sung wrongly can be termed as cintAmaNi. :-) Remember: “sarigama nA Agachati” (SRGM prayOgam doesn’t come) & “sanidhapa nA Agachati” (SNDP prayOgam doesn’t come). Sri Shyama Sastri is pleading to the Devi in this kriti. It should be sung slowly. Also, R to S transition comes not as plain R & then S but as R G S.
  • While singing nATTakurinji alapana, SRJ used “SRPMGS” once and announced that it was a piDi used by Sri Papa Venkatramiah.

Vid Akkarai Subbulakshmi was especially very very impressive. Her violin had that enviable nAdam. Her alapanas and the way she followed whatever was sung had SRJ himself appreciating her from time to time. I loved the nATTakurinji alapana that SRJ sang. He became so involved with the alapana that he announced: “nATTakurinji-ya undu illai nu paNNidanum” and went on to give a great treat to our ears.

Chalo utro aur dhakka lagaao !!!!

Have you ever come across a situation while traveling in a train where the train stopped at a signal for a long time and you saw children trying to push it from inside to make it move? Did you or someone else try to reason it out with them as to how the train cannot be made to move this way? You could very well have been wrong (at least partially) !!!!

I am not joking. Something similar was done to start a train that stopped !!!! Where else but in our own Bihar where a train driver asked his passengers to get out and push the train to get it to start. Can’t believe? Read more here and here.

ROTFL imagining the driver running from coach to coach, asking people to get out and lend the Guard a hand :-D

How about this statement: “Railway officials admitted the freak incident had no precedent, at least not in the Danapur rail division“. I can only imagine Laloo telling his boys: “Bachchon, mera matlab yeh nahi thaa jab maine tumse kaha thaa ki Railways mein kuch nayaa karo …. kuch aisa jo duniya mein kisi ne naa kiya ho pehle”

Wonder whats coming up next ….. Air Deccan pilots asking passengers to get down and push the plane ;-)

Who is the next Kalanidhi?

Here is how our news channels would put it:


BREAKING NEWS: This comes to you straight from Mylaaaapppppooooorrrre, the place where all the action is happening (action? what action?). Rumor is abuzz among some key people here that veteran mrudangam maestro Sri Palghat Raghu is getting the next Sangeetha Kalanidhi award. For the uninitiated, this award given by the Music Academy, Chennai is considered by aspirants, awardees and rasikas as the highest honor a Carnatic musician can get (and probably vice versa by those who don’t get the award for a long time ;-) ). In this connection, do not forget to watch our special program at 8PM tonight: “Kaun banega Kalanidhi?” followed by an exclusive interview where the man in question gets interrogated by our special correspondent Haran Pauper …. and do not forget to SMS your choice for our question of the day:”Who do you think deserves to be the next Kalanidhi?”. Press 420 followed by your choice: A for don’t know, B for don’t care. C for all of the above & D for none of the above.

We will take a small break right now but when we come back, lots of action coming to you in the weather report (action in the weather report?)


Back to the real world. Well the rumors are real (rumors are real?). What do people do in the 21st century when they hear such rumors? They google … yes … and what does Google do? It sends them to websites like mine that have the words Carnatic music or Palghat Raghu or Sangeetha Kalanidhi mentioned. What do I do? Rather …… what can I do? If only the Academy consulted with me in such important matters !! Sigh !!

Why did I make this post? So that the next time anyone googles about Sri Palghat Raghu getting the award (as some have been doing in the last few days), (s)he is not only led to some post which has details of how Sri Raghu played mrudangam in some concert or to some post which says that TNS is this year’s Sangeetha Kalanidhi, but also to more ‘relevant’ posts like this one which at least talk about the rumors …… just to give the person that tiny bit of happiness of at least finding one more person who has heard about the rumors … that too of finding such a person through the angel Google since it adds the much required feeling of having got (in)credible information ;-)

Long live Google … long live the Kalanidhis ….. long live the Meccademy …. and long live Carnatic Music !!

T.N.Seshagopalan @ Parthasarathi Temple, Chennai

Venue: Parthasarathi Swami Temple, Triplicane, Chennai

Date: 14 May 2007

Organizer: Arulmigu Parthasarathi Swami Temple & Parthasarathy Swami Sabha

Vocal: Vid. T.N.Seshagopalan (TNS)

Violin: Vid. B. Ananthakrishnan

Mrudangam: Vid. Mannarkoil Balaji

Tambura: Vid. Vaidyanathan

List of songs:

1) sAmaja varadA – sudha sAvEri – rUpakam – rAmanAthapuram srInivAsa iyengAr (OS)

2) kUDArai vellum – pUrvikalyANi – misra cApu – ANDAL

3) gOvardhana giridhara – hindOLam – Adi – nArAyaNa tIrtar (AS)

4) pArthasArathi nannu – madyamAvati – rUpakam – rAmanAthapuram srInivAsa iyengAr (NS)

5) kshIra sAgara – dEvagAndhAri – Adi – tyAgarAja

6) ugram vIram mahAvishNum (viruttam) – tODi

    ADi ADi aham karaindu (viruttam) – tODi

    paLLiyil ODi vanda tan siruvan (viruttam) – tODi

    nInE doDDavanO – tODi – Adi – purandaradAsa (AST)

7) shanka chakra gadA pANE (& other shlOkAs) – rAgamAlikA (jOg, valaji, aTANA?, bAgEshwari, bEgaDA, chandrakauns, sAmA, darbAr, hamsAnandi, rItigauLa, nIlAmbari, bauLi, shubapantuvarALi, shankarAbharaNam, shivaranjani, mAND) ***

    bArO krishnayyA – rAgamAlikA – Adi – kanakadAsa

8 ) annavayal pudhuvai ANDAL (viruttam) – maNirangu – uyyakkonDAr

    mAri malai muzhainjil – maNirangu – misra cApu – ANDAL

9) vangakkaDal kaDainda – suruTTi – misra cApu – ANDAL

10) swasti prajAbhyah paripAlayantAm (shlOkam) – shrI

11) sriya kAntAya (shlOkam) – shrI

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

*** There could have been more ragas in the ragamalika in 7). I managed to note down only these. I think I have almost covered the entire set sung. Each of the phrases in a particular raga were sung for only about 5 seconds and he just shifted from one raga to another very fast.

Being a die-hard TNS fan, I was looking forward to at least three hours of pure bliss upon seeing this concert listed as starting at 6.30PM in the morning papers, instead of the usual 7PM. Upon entering the temple, I came to know from an acquaintance that TNS had a train to catch at 9.15PM, had hence asked for an early 6.30 PM start and would wrap up before 8.30PM. The actual concert however hardly lasted an hour and a quarter. Had I not known TNS had a train to catch, I would have been thoroughly disappointed with such a short concert.

But even within such a short time, a TNS fan could get glimpses of the multi-faceted maestro. Though his raga alapanas were much shorter than his usual portrayals, he seemed to extract the essence of the ragas and give it to rasikas to enjoy. For example his tODi alapana lasted for just 4 minutes in place of the usual 30 min to 1 hour essays but had all the punch packed within that short time. He also sang many verses from the works of Vaishnavite saints, especially from the Thiruppavai, during the viruttams [ex: viruttam in 7) above]. Hearing the tODi alapana and “vangakkaDal“, one of my favorite verses from Andal’s Thiruppavai (in the raga suruTTi), made my day.

Looking forward to longer concerts of the maestro once these ‘dry’ summer months get over.

Gayathri Venkataraghavan @ Sarvani Sangeetha Sabha, Chennai

Venue: Kasturi Srinivasan Hall, Music Academy, Chennai

Date: 13 May 2007

Organizer: Sarvani Sangeetha Sabha (4 Hour Concert)

Vocal: Vid. Gayathri Venkataraghavan

Violin: Vid. Charulatha Ramanujam

Mrudangam: Vid. Neyveli Narayanan

Ghatam: Vid. S.Karthick

Tambura: Vid. Vijayalakshmi

List of songs:

1) sarasijanAbhA (varnam) – kAmbOji – kanDa aTa – swAti tiruNAL (O)

2) varavallabha ramaNa – hamsadhwani – Adi – g.n. bAlasubramaNiam (OS)

3) vandE vAsudEvam – shrI – kanDa cApu – annamAcArya (OS)

4) ennagAnu rAma bhajana – pantuvarALi – rUpakam – bhadrAchala rAmdAs (ANST)

5) nannu brOcutaku – rItigauLa – tisra Ekam (tisra gati) – mysore sadAsiva rAo (A)

6) ennEramum – dEvagAndhAri – Adi – gOpAlakrishna bhArati

7) mAkElarA – ravichandrikA – Adi – thyAgarAja (S)

8 ) mAra jananIm AshrayE – nATakapriyA – Adi – n.c.krishnamAcAryulu (AS)

9) shrI mAtrubhUtam – kannaDa – misra chApu – muthuswAmi dIkshitar

10) mAyammA yani nE – Ahiri – Adi – syAma sAstri

11) mOhana rAmA – mOhanam – Adi – thyAgarAja (ANST)

12) mAnasa sanchararE – sAmA – Adi – sadAsiva brahmendra

13) rAgam tAnam pallavi – bhairavi – tisra tripuTa (4 kaLai & 2 kaLai)

pallavi wordings: “nIrajAkshi kAmAkshI, nikhila lOka janani niranjani”

kalpanA swarams in bhairavi, bahudAri, hindOLam, kEdAram, ranjani

14) ranjani mrudu pankaja lOcani – rAgamAlikA – Adi – tAnjOre shankara iyer

15) akhiyAn hari darshan kI pyAsi – behAg – catusra Eka – sUrdAs

16) bhAvayAmi gOpAla bAlam – yamunA kalyANi – kanDa cApu – annamAcArya

17) nAda vindu (tiruppugazh) – chenchuruTTi – Adi – aruNagirinAthar

18) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – saurAshTram – Adi – thyAgarAja

19) swasti prajAbhyah paripAlayantAm (slOkam) – madyamAvati

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

It is not often that one comes across a concert where every single artist on stage contributes their best and lifts the concert to great heights. Today’s was one such performance. If I were to choose one word to describe this concert, it would be “satisfying”. Every minute of the 4 hr 20 min performance was worth listening to.

Vid. Gayathri Venkataraghavan started her concert in her usual style by chanting “Om” thrice using the notes G3, R2 and S. Vid. Neyveli Narayanan and Vid. S. Karthick got into the act rightaway and played very well for the varnam. Their maturity and expertise was evident from the way they played for the songs. That they had significant concert experience backing them was very much visible from the way they played effortlessly and intelligently for all the kritis. “varavallabha ramaNA” saw the use of some very good bhrigAs by Vid. Gayathri. “vandE vAsudEvam“, one of my personal favorites from among the songs Smt. M.S. Subbulakshmi has sung was rendered next. When MS amma renders the song, Vid. Radha Viswanathan sings one octave higher for some of the lines. A similar, pleasing effect was produced with Vid. Charulatha Ramanujam playing one octave higher for the first few lines. I especially liked the way Vid. Gayathri sang the phrase “aravinda nAbham” from the first caraNam, the first time.

nannu brOcutaku“, “mOhana rAmA” & “akhiyAn hari darshan kI pyAsI” were especially rendered well. Vid. Gayathri worked magic with rItigauLa as she always does. She announced that the rItigauLa composition had been notated by Vid. Charulatha Ramanujam’s guru, the great maestro Vid. R.K. Srikantan.

Bhairavi alapana was done in 4 stages by both the vocalist and the violinst and lasted about 18 minutes. Both Vid. Gayathri and Vid. Charulatha Ramanujam executed their respective alapana portions very well. The excellent tAnam itself lasted about 10 minutes with Sri Neyveli Narayanan and Sri S. Karthick also joining in the party here. Both the raga alapana and tAnam got lot of applause from the audience. If I remember correctly, the pallavi was sung in trikAlam in both 4 kaLai as well as 2 kaLai versions of tisra tripuTa.

The pallavi line “nIrajAkshi kAmAkshI, nikhila lOka janani niranjani” was structured as follows:

  • 1 Avartanam of tisra tripuTa 4 kaLai = 7×4 beats = 28 beats
  • B = beat
  • starts 2 beats after samam

nI (2B) ra (1B) jA (2B) kshi (2B) kA (1.5B) mA (1.5B) kshI (+ gap = 3B) ni (1B) khi (1B) la (1B) lO (2B) ka (1B) ja (1B) na (1B) ni (2B) ni (1B) ran (2B) ja (1B) ni (1B)

I have always had a liking for taniavartanams played by Sri Neyveli Narayanan. There was all the more reason for me to be happy today with Sri S. Karthick, one of my favorite ghatam artists, joining him. Two taniavartanams were played, one for “ennagAnu rAma bhajana” in rUpaka tALam and the other for “mOhana rAmA” in Adi tALam. The first one (in rUpaka tALam) comprised the catusra and tisra naDais and kanDa kuraippu. The second one (in Adi tALam) comprised the catusra and tisra naDais and misra kuraippu.

Here is kOrvai of the day … this one was played by Sri S. Karthick for Adi tALam:

tha dhi ;  ki Ta ; tha ka ; dhi na;

tha dhi, ki Ta; tha ka, dhi na;

tha dhi, ki Ta, tha ka, dhi na,

tha dhi ki Ta, tha ka dhi na,

tha dhi ki Ta  tha ka dhi na (2 beats)

tha dhi ki Ta  tha ka dhi na (within 1.5 beats)

tha dhi ki Ta  tha ka dhi na (double speed – within 1 beat)

tha dhi, tha dhi ki Na thom ,

(tha, dhi, tha dhi ki Na thom – 2 times) ,

tha; dhi, tha dhi ki Na thom – 3 times

Total aksharam count = 128

A kOrvai a day keeps math tuitions away  :-)

The team got an extended standing ovation from the audience when the concert ended. Truly well deserved I must say !!