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Carnatic music resonates at movie theatre this Margazhi

It was 8.30 am on a weekday, when the queue at a screen of a popular movie theatre in the city gradually began growing.

Carnatic music resonates at movie theatre this Margazhi
Rasikas seated at a cinema hall for a concert (Photo: Manivasagan N)


It wasn’t, however, a film star that these people were awaiting. An early morning dose of Carnatic music was what they were eager for — even though in a space where it’s the least expected. With an aim to present Carnatic music in a unique way this Margazhi season, the MadRasana Festival has taken its concerts out of the traditional sabha setups.

Carnatic music exponents like Vignesh Ishwar (vocalist), Dr KN Renganatha Sharma (vocalist), Jayanthi Kumaresh (veena artiste), Bombay Jayashri (vocalist) and Abhishek Raghuram (vocalist), along with other artistes, had the stage at the cinema screen — each on a different day of the five-day fest. The three-hour concerts witnessed packed 250-seater hall, with no noise distractions from the outside world that one would notice at a sabha. For the artistes as well, the acoustically-treated environment was slightly different from the popular Magazhi venues, as it was almost close to that of a recording studio.

The concert experience was like watching a film being made live, said Padma Venka, a regular at sabhas during the music season. “The acoustics at the cinema hall make the concert so much better than one at a sabha. The lighting focused only on the artistes (and dimmed for the audience) also makes a huge difference for the concert. With the use of better sound technology, this is like a modern interpretation of Carnatic music,” she remarked. Popular photographer Amar Ramesh, who was also among the audience for one of the concerts, noted that the comfortable viewing experience and crystal-clear sound made these concerts stand out. “I’m not sure if I’d be comfortable for three hours at a concert in any other sabha, where one would constantly hear the sounds of people getting up and chairs being pulled. The atmosphere is like a ‘do not disturb’ viewing of Carnatic performances. The luxury that comes with this new avenue will also draw many millennials,” he asserted.

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