Margazhi Raagam

Imagine a concert in Chennai’s music season where

  • you prefer the last row to the first
  • the balcony ticket is costlier than the ticket for a seat in the main hall
  • the sound system is excellent
  • there are no MTC buses honking
  • there are no mamas/mamis shouting raga names the moment the singer starts singing
  • no one seems to bother carrying/refering to a raga identification guide
  • there is an intermission
  • (last but not the least) the venue has clean toilets

 

This is Margazhi Raagam for you (Official web site: Link). 

 

Positives:

  • Audio/video is of very good quality
  • Camera work is excellent
  • It is bound to appeal even to non-carnatic-concert-goers, going by the feedback from some of my friends who do not listen much to Indian Classical Music

 

A few things that I thought could have been better:

  • The intermission could have been done away with or else some carnatic audio could have been played. Instead, some pop music was played followed by ads of TV shows and what not. In Arar Asaippadar’s screening at the same Sathyam Cinemas (Chennai), Sanjay’s music was played before the movie began and during the interval which had a very good effect. 
  • The taniavartanam could have been shot better. For instance, both sides of the mrudangam could have been shown with the split screen effect. The tani also seemed to appear all of a sudden as if it was a disjoint piece force-fit to the song it was played for. But people did recognize the tani, for many of them got up and left the hall promptly, as they do in regular concerts 😉
  • Personally, I would have loved a more traditional kutcheri-ish stage and backdrop than the panels lit in blue with curtains dropping from the top. (The presence of smoke would have given it the effect of a Kollywood movie dream scene 😉 )
  • Volume for khanjira could have been higher. 
  • I would personally have preferred them record a live concert with the audience present, especially to capture the on-stage interactions between the musicians more completely. The on-screen personas of a few musicians were totally different from their on-stage ones. Some just seemed to be too concious of the camera.

 

PS: I loved the music on offer, especially the RTP

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