Majority of the organization and artists are performing, said N Murali, President of the Music Academy.

Chennais Marghazi fest to go on artists like Anita Ratnam Bombay Jayashri pull out Image for representation/
news Friday, December 11, 2015 - 21:55

‘The show must go on’ seems to be the motto for this year’s Margazhi festival despite the floods that devastated the city for the past three weeks.

The Music Academy, which organizes one of the more prominent festivals, confirmed that it will be starting its festival onDecember 15 although a few artists have cancelled their performances. Artists who have cancelled are classical dancer Anita Ratnam, and vocalists Sudha Raghunathan and Bombay Jayashri.  

In an interview with The News Minute, N Murali, President of the Music Academy said, “The Music Academy is going ahead with the festival. It is indeed sad that the Chennai rains have caused untold damages and suffering. But not having the festival, it is not helping the cause. We provide opportunity for smaller artists who depend on the festival for the major source of their revenue. Many artists also want to heal through art and also contribute to the recent rehabilitation.”

He added: “The Music Academy would also like to contribute to the relief and rehabilitation once the season is over. By running the season, we will be able to help constructively. Majority of the organization and artists are performing. Some performances have been postponed as we are starting late.”

According to media reports, Mylapore Fine Arts Club and Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha started their annual festivals on Wednesday. The Sri Krishna Gana Sabha will also inaugurate the festival on December 20 instead of December 11.

V Sriram writes in The Hindu, “There have, however, been plenty of Decembers when the Season was impacted. During World War II, Madras was evacuated in 1942 and in 1943 there were floods from end-October to early November on a scale similar to the current one. Even the tsunami of December 26, 2004 disrupted the Season for just a day.” But none of it allowed the Margazhi festival to be cancelled for the past 89 years.

Eminent classical dancer Anita Ratnam cancelled her performance on December 24 and 25 and wants to focus on the rehabilitation works in the city. She told The News Minute, “This is an 89-year-old festival but this kind of natural disaster has also come after 100-years. City last week required rescue and now its need is rehabilitation. In such a time, I do not want to look at my face in the mirror, put on make-up, put on jewellery, wear a beautiful costume and when the lights are on, getting on the stage and perform.”

She also said that the halls itself are not habitable, they were flooded and dirty. The schedules had to be postponed and it is also a practical problem.

“Many agree with me and many don’t especially, the junior dancers who feel that if they cancel their shows the sabhas won’t give them a chance next year. It is not a dilemma for me. I chose to withdraw and I stand by it. It has just been 10 days that the disaster came and Margazhi is such a focal point in the city’s calendar and most of the Old Madras wraps itself around the conjure of this month. Many dancers and musicians have lost everything, I’m trying to rehabilitate them and put my time and efforts towards that”, she added. 

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