Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Time to say Goodbye, but there's work to be done!

We took a small break and found that this isnt enough after a tight Festival.
And now it is time to settle the big bills from all the service providers.
Thankfully, with a cool sponsor like Sundaram Finance the process is smooth and fairly quick.

When you have a sponsor who also believes what you as Director of the Fest have in mind and on the  vision radar, it is a great partnership.

Reason to offer a special thank you to SF's Head, T T Srinivasaraghavan and his team.

It has been a hugely enjoyable Fest despite the hiccups that all such street and open space based Fests carry with them.

And with the jottings of the Fest's pluses and minuses, we will be back to the table in March 2013 to plan the 2014 Festival.

Your suggestions, ideas and hand up will be welcome too. Do write in -

Till the next January, thank you for being with us.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Positives of this Fest

Some nice positives from this Fest.

One, that people do enjoy the traditional performing arts and will watch them as late as 10 p.m. The Bhagatava Mela experience this time was encouraging.

Two, that many people are so proud of the kolam carpet created by the Kolam Contests that they want traffic to be curtailed for a few hours after the contest so that tourists and others can take time and enjoy every art work in peace and quiet and that dirty wheels do not run over the works of art.

Three, that a good Carnatic music concert in the open air welcomes people who are not hardcore music rasikas and they stay on till late.

Four, that more and more people are proud that a Fest of this nature takes place in their midst.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Rickshaw Tour gets moving!

Asha Sridhar of The Hindu newspaper just could not wait to take the Cyclerickshaw tour on Friday evening.

We had requested City Editor, Bishwanath Ghosh ( Tamarind City author, the book based on our city) to consider some feature ideas that The Hindu could look at at the Fest and he responded.

Through fading light Asha and her colleague got the sights and sounds of inner Mylapore and not content with their experience, have told the rick men to expect friends on this weekend.

This tour is best done at daytime so if you or your friends want an experience please come by to the Fest office counter ( East Mada Street, Rasi store area) at 4.45 p.m. and book early!
Just now, there are just 2 ricks on the tour.

Exhibition of vintage Mylapore triggers contributions

Over 500 people must have seen the small Vintage Mylapore Photo Exhibition so far.
It is located along the western wall of the Lady Sivaswami Girls School, on East Mada Street through the evening and we now keep it open through the day at the thread ( ther shed).

Though there are only 35 odd pictures the show has now triggered donations from the community. Two people brought some old photos to share including some by the family of Prabhu , a  PR professional who also handles the PR for Sundaram Finance for the Fest.

The pictures were of the Malayalee Assn at the Madras High Court! many lawyers in this frame were Mylapore residents and the picture has been carefully preserved by Prabhu's neighbor.

We invite more such donations of old Mylapore photos. Mail us at -

Stalls, stalls, stalls!

Space for all - perhaps that is the underlining spirit of the Fest.
Because besides the events that we as the hosts present and the streets that we create, loads of other people also set up shop.

Stalls, stalls, stalls is the plea from men and women who want to tap into the popularity of the Fest.
Selling food and mosquito repellants, beads and chapati makers, the stalls of all kinds in all place make this a thiruvizha of sorts.

As hosts using a public space, we really cannot and may not be able to bar the hawkers and sundry stalls from the space. Live and let live is the policy!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bhagavata Mela gets good audience. 2nd show tonight!

When the last word was said on the Main Stage last night the clock showed 10.25 p.m.
And there were at least 400 people in the audience to applaud the Bhagavata Mela team from Thanjavur.

Bhakta Prahlad on Day One of the Fest was good. More so when the show unfolded on a large, simple stage set against the lit multi-pillared mantap of the Sri Kapali Temple, a wonderful work of art that is sadly stoned in the dark.

Mali and his team will be back on Friday night to present the Andal story in Tamil and this should also be great. Starts from about 8.15 p.m today.

The streets came alive and the special lamps alongside the veedhis gave that quaint touch to the fest area.

Expect the crowds to be big Friday evening as the bzuz has now made the rounds of this neighborhood.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Kapali temple has space for more dance

Classical Bharathanatyam performances inside Sri Kapali temple has been a tradition in Mylapore Festival for years now.

This one-hour performance by young students of famed gurus is a colourful one that draws huge audience and make the temple goers sit  for a while and enjoy in a great ambiance.

When we were told that there is another dance event hosted by the Chairman of the temple, Mr. Vijay Kumar Reddy on one of the days of the festival, we needed work around the timings.

Mr. Reddy who is a great supporter of music and dance, sponsors many awards and events during the 'December season' in Madras. So it wasn't difficult for the Mylapore Festival team to convince him to have both the dance events in the temple on that day.

Dance guru Mathumathy Prakash too doesn't want to give up a chance to perform at the temple and has readily agreed to perform an hour earlier on the day.

Now, on Jan. 12, there will be a Bharathanatyam performance by the students of Mathumathy Prakash followed by a Odissi dance recital by the dancers of Nrityagram, Bangalore, Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satpathy.

The Navarathri mandapam of Sri Kapali temple has space for all this and more

Mohan's docu film on margazhi mood on mada veedhis

A new docu-film has just landed on our table and it makes good viewing.

Mohan Das Vadakkara has captured the sounds, sights and music of the margazhi season on the mada veedhis of Mylapore. The 12minute film will be among the 3 short films we will screen at the Main Stage area of the Fest.

Titled Margazhi Moods on mada veedhis, the film has been uploaded on YouTube last night and we want you to see it and post your comments too!

Mohan Das had a terrible end to his first shoot on the veedhis in late December - his hard disk crashed and he lost great footage, including some great predawn shots of the Arudra procession out of Sri Kapali Temple.

But he doubled up last week and delivered in quick time. For the past few years, the Fest commissions very small films on Mylapore to be screened at the Fest. If you have ideas, buzz us for 2014.

The Team that builds the base for the Fest!

Five key men and their teams make this Fest happen. For they are ones who build the foundations and stages for the shows to roll and go on for four days.

Bhupalan has been with us for a decade. His team is small and it fixes all the basic electrical systems we need, replacing fused bulbs inside our lovely cloth lamps and the paper lamps from Pondy that decorate 5 streets / lanes.

Swamy has also been with us for some years and his Triplicane based team handles the sound and lights at the main stage - Swamy is the kind of person who always says 'yes' to requests - collar mikes in a jiffy, additional light on the small stage and stuff.

Shankar from Llyods Road joined us this year and will fix all the stalls. Big but quick infrastructure a Fest requires.

And the man who runs around and fixes things through 24 hours - Kathiravan from Mylapore Times. Kolam maavu, artists' stands, banners and posters . . and more. That is a lot he handles.

The Fest runs on this team in many ways.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Can we revive our Ricks?

The cyclerickshaw life is a sad story. We got closer to it this week as we put together the Cyclerickshaw Tour.

Krishnan and Murthy will be the two men who will pedal visitors on a 40minute journey through Mylapore streets and lanes, going as far east as the San Thome Cathedral.

The ricks are rickety simply because patronage is next to zilch for these men; Murthy has been a bit smart, with a few school safaris before he hits a job in the area. But Krishnan sounds so despondent. He is 70 and a tired man.

Krishnan belongs to the rick community which was an adjunct of the old Mylapore families - carting women to tenples, markets  and stores. Seniors to short distances. And earned well. In some ways, the Krishnans were part of the extended family of the 50s and 60s.

Mylapore still sports at least two dozen ricks. They are the links to the past.
If the tours can grow into a regular tourist circuit for some of these men and their eco machines, this Fest may have made a contribution.

If you have ideas to make this grow, share them. Join its

The Kolam Display on the mada veedhi . .

We started the Kolam Display last year. Letting the 100 plus kolams designed on North Mada Street, just off the temple zone to remain as a live exhibit on the road so that Festival visitors and passersby enjoy the spectacle.

Since it gets dark by 6 p.m. we even floodlit the street section and the kolams in that glow were a brilliant carpet. Thankfully, Mylapore Police also co operated and guided the traffic on one side of the veedhi.

We hope to let the Display remain on the weekend this season. If we could make it, we would like the Kolam Display to remain as such into the night. That would draw hundreds of people.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Need for temple heritage zone . . .

We are always looking at the open spaces on and off the mada veedhis.
And dreamily imagining the picture on the veedhis if we cut off the traffic for 3/5 hours on these roads, let the hawkers and stores open colourfully and host cultural and art events.

I believe this is an idea that is easily possible. All we need is a city council and city police and state tourism to back the idea.

The Sri Kapali Temple zone is a truly heritage zone which needs a special status and attention.
The Mylapore Festival tries to bring the focus on this idea.

Hopefully, the kolam display after the contest will be a showcase on the weekend.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Mylapore Quiz can be testy!

QFI, many thanks.
The Quiz Foundation of India (QFI), a body of hyper and champ quizzers has always been of help to the Fest.

So when we buzzed senior quizzer Gopal Kidao this time, he responded in a  jiffy and we now have Vijay Sai as Quiz Master for the Mylapore Quiz on Jan 13 at Lady Sivaswamy Girls School.

It is open to all, and for teams of 2. No regn. required. All questions will be on Mylapore.

Report at 2.45 pm. We have to close the event by 4 pm because other events follow at this hall!

Street for Artists

Hopefully, we will now have an Artists Lane at the Fest - an idea we have been working on for some time.

It is not easy to convert streets and lanes in Mylapore where life bubbles everyday into a Fest zone.
We need to respect the local people's lives but most have always been accommodating. They love tghe festival mela scene as long as people don't mess around.

So my artist friend Gita and past MFA students like JP and Siva, both regulars at the Fest have worked their contacts and will have at least 12 young artists to display small works of art on Pitchu Pillai Street, just off Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

Portrait painting of guests will also be done - it is the most indemand thing at the Fest.

Dabras as souvenirs!

Getting dabras made as souvenirs was an idea that came from the community on FaceBook.
It is a nice one and we are happy we could source a pack of dabras at our fav store in China Bazaar and even get the MF logo engraved on each one.

They will go on sale as souvenirs at the Fest Office near the thread. But the dabras are in limited numbers.

T shirts, caps and framed Mylapore illustrations are all ready to go as souvenirs. Grab them!