MUDHRA should be commended for organising their festival series in Nungambakkam which could cater to the population in that area and that too free of charge.
On the opening day, however, one had to face two kinds of assaults. The first was on the patience, tolerance and the intelligence of the huge audience.
The dignitaries went on and on with their adulation of each other far beyond the time when the flute concert by Shashank was to begin.
If this is the treatment a popular artiste gets, one can imagine the plight of an aspiring one.
Then came the second assault on the ears of the audience. The decibel level of the flute reached a peak that it became noise rather than mild. The audience complaint that it was too loud fell on deaf ears.
Shashank began the concert with a listeners' choice, Nattakurinji Varnam and followed it with `Vatapi Ganapathim' naturally with Swaraprastharam; the noise seemed only to increase; in fact the sound of the flute drowned that of the Tavil by Haridwaramangalam Palanivel!
Then came a short alapana of Ranjani with occasional use of the base flute Bansuri preceding `Dunmargachara'. Shashank was supported by his sister Shanthala on the flute, B. U. Ganeshprasad on the violin and Neyveli Venkatesh on the mridangam besides Palanivel on the tavil.
The acoustics was not much better in the vocal duet by the Malladi Brothers.
When either of them sang alone or Sriram Parasuram played on the violin alone it was tolerable; but when the whole team of vocalists, violinist and the two percussionists K. V. Prasad on the mridangam and Vaikom Gopalakrishnan on the ghatam performed together it was nothing but a challenge to the aural senses of the audience. Of the brothers Sriram Kumar's voice is louder and clearer than Ravi Kumar's. They too began with the Padavarnam in Nattakurinji; there were `brigas' even for the Swarams!
The Nattai Raga Alapana by Sriramkumar touched the charcteristic notes of the melody; the composition taken up was `Jaya Jaya Swamin' with Kalpanaswaras for the Pallavi, went on for a considerable length of time. Well, this was a four-hour concert.
Being Sunday the Navagraha Kriti `Sooryamurthe' was rendered next. After the Begada Raga essay came the fast number `Gadigara Nannu', while singing the Kalpanaswars, in the top Sa-Ga, a fancy inflection led to a different Raga altogether.
Sriram Parasuram's Swara playing was imaginative and had more depth making it interesting. Once again it was Sriramkumar who rendered the Alapana of Danyasi to be followed by `Ni Chittamu' with Neraval and Swarams.
At this point being unable to face the auditory challenge any longer one had to leave.
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