Amaravani: A musical project to revive Sanskrit poetry and why Mohanlal is part of it

Sanskrit is not only about shlokas and devotional songs, but also has a segment which focuses on secular topics
Amaravani: A musical project to revive Sanskrit poetry and why Mohanlal is part of it
Amaravani: A musical project to revive Sanskrit poetry and why Mohanlal is part of it
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"Its great honour for me to introduce "Amaravani" on the day of Vidyarambaham...Let this be a great start to learn and know more about one of the oldest language world has ever known – Sanskrit (sic)," Malayalam superstar Mohanlal wrote in a post on his Facebook wall on Thursday.  (Add videos)

The actor has lent his voice to introduce Amaravani, a musical project,  that was launched in August this year by Samskrita Bharati, a non-profit organisation that works towards the revival of Sanskrit.

"संस्कृतं केवलम् उपनयनसंस्कारवतां पण्डितानां तथा देवसम्बद्धानां स्तोत्राणाम् एव भाषा इति यः वदति सः दूरे तिष्ठतु ।" the actor says.

"Whosoever said that Saṃskṛtam is only for the initiated scholars and about religious verses alone, move over! It would be interesting to note that Saṃskṛtam was spoken in Bhāratam by its populace during the golden eras, under its illustrious Kings.Such was the ease of the language that many used it prodigiously to fill the role of the mundane as well as the sublime!"

Speaking to The News Minute, P Nandakumar, All Bharat General Secretary of Samskrita Bharati, says that the organisation wants to "change the face of Sanskrit" through the project.

"Sanskrit is not only about shlokas and devotional songs. There is also a segment which focuses on secular topics like nature and patriotism and we wanted to highlight this aspect of the language," he says.

Several renowned singers like Shankar Mahadevan, Sujatha, Madhu Balakrishnan, Harini, Kalpana Raghavendar, Aruna Sairam, Ramesh Vinayakam and Karthika have already sung half-a-dozen songs for the project.

"Over 1 crore people speak Sanskrit across the world- from the United States to the UAE and several pockets in India, including in Assam and Karnataka. We want to revive the language by urging people to speak it. It is the easiest way to learn," Nandakumar says.

The organisation, he adds, has also approached Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan and Amitabh Bachchan and all have shown interest in the project.

Mohanlal was approached by Samskrita Bharati after the latter saw his performance in a Sanskrit drama called "Karnabharam" by Kavalam Narayana Panikkar.

"Mohanlal had played the role of Karna. We had seen his performance and when we narrated our proposal to him, he liked it and agreed to be a part of it," Nandakumar says.

Mohanlal as Karna in "Karnabharam"; Screenshot: kannansp/YouTube

The response to Amaravani, he continues, has been very good so far with praises pouring in for the initiative from different parts of the world.

"The objective of this music project is to reveal this aspect, this treasure-trove of ideas/ poems to the public and thus popularise the language even further.

Penned by distinguished scholars of Saṃskṛtam and set to soulful music that covers folk, Tibetan, traditional Carnatic and Hindustani styles, the songs are sure to find a resonance with the public." - Amaravani 

At present, seven songs have already been produced as part of the project and the organisers plan to next target Tamil and Telugu audiences.

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