The Mad Mad Madras Season
The festivals season this year too was as maddening as ever. Almost every available hall—big or small—was booked for the season and there were lecdems, music recitals and dance programmes galore. The special canteens dishing out seasoned fare were, of course, abuzz with activity. The madness had not abated in any way, it was magnified.
More organisations had jumped into the fray this time with the number this season increasing to 73 from 68, in spite of the fact that sponsorship money has not been easily forthcoming. As many as 13 organisations conducted two festivals; two organisations conducted three festivals, and one organisation conducted four festivals during this season. So what is it that makes it worthwhile to organise a concert series? Most organisations are not registered as sabha-s; there are less than 10 organisations in the city which are accountable to the Registrar of Societies. How do they manage this and how do they survive? It is not as if these do not function outside the season.
News and Notes
Felicitations to Guru U.S. Krishna Rao
The Sruti Foundation presented its E. Krishna Iyer Medal for 2002 to guru U.S. Krishna Rao, veteran Bharatanatyam exponent and teacher, on 22 December 2002 in Chennai.
The EKI Medal was established by the Sruti Foundation in 1989 in memory of E. Krishna Iyer, foremost among the key figures who played a vital role in the renaissance of Bharatanatyam at a time when the future of the art looked bleak because of societal opprobrium. He worked tirelessly to promote this dance-form. (See Sruti 155).
The individual or organisation selected to receive the E. Krishna Iyer Medal must have made a significant contribution to the preservation and promotion of Bharatanatyam traditions.
T.K. Mahalingam Pillai
Natyacharya Tiruvidaimarudur K. Mahalingam Pillai passed away on 6 December 2002 in Mumbai. He was a veteran Bharatanatyam guru respected for his dedication to the preservation of traditions and values and for his achievements as a teacher and choreographer. Short in appearance, Mahalingam Pillai was tall in artistic stature.
Mahalingam Pillai belonged to a family of natyacharya-s, who wielded the cymbals for four generations. His ancestors, who hailed from the town of Tiruvidaimarudur in Tanjavur district, included such renowned guru-s as Venkatakrishna Nattuvanar, his son Veeraswamy Pillai, grandson Panchapakesa Nattuvanar, and his great grandson Kuppiah Pillai.
The DKJ Memorial Award was presented to veteran Carnatic vocalist B.V. Raman on 25 January by the DKJ Foundation in Chennai. The award, which comprised a purse of 5000 rupees, was presented to him by S.B. Prabhakar Rao, President-Corporate Affairs, Chemplast Sanmar, who also felicitated the awardee and complimented the Foundation. The Mambalam Sisters, disciples of B.V. Raman, also felicitated their guru. In his acceptance speech, the veteran musician recalled his close association with the late D.K. Jayaraman. The function was followed by a flute recital by N. Ramani, who was accompanied by Vittal Ramamurthy (violin), Madrimangalam Swaminathan (mridanga) and V. Suresh (ghata).