TamilNadu Performing Arts

Dance :

What was once known as Bharathakalai and now known as Bharatha Naatyam is a unique form of Dance. Once considered taboo for women is now learned widely and being frequently performed on the stage as well as at temple festivals. The national TV also is lending a hand to popularise this ancient and classic form of dancing.


If one were to talk about music one can site enough examples from the Tamil epic Silappathikaram itself Such finest nuances of music like 'pann' and 'mathirai' are elaborately discussed in this. If one were to add any further one can dare say that even the 'raagaas' of Karnatic music also originated from Tamil music. Almost all the 'sabhas', such as Tamil Isai Sangam, Music Academy, Naaradha Gaana Sabha, to name a few, hold music festival every year. The great stalwarts like Bharatha Ratna M.S.Subbulaxmi, Dr.Bala Murali Krishna, Chembai, Chemmangudi and etc. are considered as finest exponent of Karnatic form of music while Ilayaraja who created a niche for himself in Film music contributed in no lesser a manner to popularise the music of rural people. The position it enjoys now on the world scenario, one can say, is due to him. The Karnatic Music festival held in Tiruvarur, Thanjavur district is the finest example of the esteemed level at which this is held by the people of Tamilnadu. It is no surprise for a land which idolises and prays Lord Siva in the form of music.


It is true that the Tamil Drama movement began by the venerable Shankaradas Swamigal lost some of its glamour with the advent of Cinema. But when compared with the vigour with which the drama movement faced the turmoil situation prevailed then, the achievement of Cinema pales into insignificance.

Besides, Tamil Drama has the distinction having produced five illustrious Chief Ministers in Arignar Anna, Kalaignar Karunanidhi, M.G.R., Tmt.V.N.Jaanaki, Selvi Jeyalalithaa. Tamil Dramas proved to be effective ammunition in the country’s fight for freedom Doyens like Viswanathadas, Bhaskaradas whipped up patriotism among the masses in South India using drama as an effective tool. MGR and Shivaji who later became legends in cine field began their histrionic career under the tutelage of Shankaradas Swamigal in the Boys’ drama company run by him. In Musical Drama the couple KB Sundarambal and SG Kittappa, with their soul rendering performances became the ‘darlings’ of the people. KB Sundarambal even courted arrest for having sung patriotic songs in her dramas.

Under the disguise of mythological dramas the artists spread message of freedom. TKS brothers staged social dramas and these dramas brought about social awareness and the freedom struggle was the core theme of many a dramas. Nawab Rajamanikkam also occupies a pride of place in this respect. Though the literary works of such geniuses like T.Jaanakiraman and Alagirisaamy found a place in Sahasranamam’s Seva Stage, the real effort to give prominence to such work was made by Prof. Ramanujam of Thanjai Tamil University. In order to give new life and lease to Tamil drama he established drama ‘workshops’ (Koothu-pattarai) His artistically modern approach did pull the Tamil drama from the rut it was in. He was followed by Naa.Muthuswamy, Pariksha Gnani, Veli Rangarajan and they did give a new direction and dimension for Tamil Drama.

Under the circumstances the street dramas created by Badal Sarkar assumed the role of a social movement and it created such an impact that it had its influence in Tamilnadu as well. Youths inclined towards left ideologies used this as an effective instrument to spread their messages among the masses. In that respect Thiru Piralayan through his Chennai Kalai-kulu and Tmt. Mangai through her Chennai Pal-kalai-Kulu are making valuable contribution for the renaissance of Tamil drama. Through experiment young artiste like Muruga-boopathy are show-casing ancient glories to the modern era.

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