It is Margazhi, music & morkali season in Chennai

Representative image of a sabha in Chennai.

Chennai: December is here and so is the fear of Chennai floods. But for me, it is all about Margazhi, music and morkali. TAMBRAMs in pattu pudavai and veshti-jubha hop from one sabha to another with a music guide to check out their favourite concerts invariably reach once the show is over, caught in heavy traffic. They eventually end up in canteens sipping filter coffee, Kasi halwa and, of course, morkali.

If music is food for rasikas, it is always the other way round for me. Food is my music. The primary aim of my visit to sabhas is only to catch a little music and spend more time in the crowded canteens.

Talking about crowds, there has always been a complaint that ever since demonetisation was introduced, the number of patrons to sabhas dwindled. Well, the sabhas may think out-of-the-box and perhaps take a cue from Tamil film producers, who patronise so-called social media trackers to get audience.

And this experiment means trackers outnumber audience on social media, but still you get at least the ‘trackers’ who tweet every move at concert halls.

In the situation of sabhas hiring social media trackers, imagine their tweets – ‘Verithanam overloaded’ at Sri Parthasarathy Swamy Sabha. ‘Theri Mass’ at Sadguru Gnananandha Hall. Nithyasree’s concert is an ‘adhri budhiri hit’. A ‘bumper opening’ at Brahma Gana Sabha. ‘Earth shattering response’ at Music Academy. Well, this is December, and they would be advised to avoid the word ‘earth shattering’ in this part of the country.

They can take a cue from the way multiplexes fill their halls for movies. They can introduce advance bookings and an announcement saying advance booking for advance booking. I am still awestruck what pre-booking for advance booking means for a movie and that, too, it comes with an additional announcement that your ticket for the show is not guaranteed.

And may be the sabhas can employ paid reviewers, who are available in plenty on social media. Anyone with a smartphone is a reviewer – in other words, a reviewer reviews a movie only to be read by another reviewer.

When I last visited Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha, I could hear an elderly man yelling after a concert, ‘Thank God Subbudu is not here to review’. I had to intervene and correct him. There was Venkudu, who sent shivers down the spine of Carnatic musicians. Appropriately called ‘Nattamai’, Vijayakumar aka Venkudu, was a nightmare for artistes on screen. There is no substitute for him, agree those who saw Praveen Kanth’s directorial Jodi.

Morkali

And in the case of a social media tracker employed to review concerts, he could come up with some smart tweets. Imagine this – Second-half badly needs trimming. Music was a big letdown. Songs hamper the pace. Well, no explanation needed.

And one suggestion for sabhas which complain audience often disrupt a concert with their loud ringing mobile phones: Immediately put out a picture of Pakshirajan aka Akshay Kumar from 2.0 in your halls and if they still continue to use it, the final and strict way is to print pictures of Sivakumar on your tickets.

And last but not the least, in a week’s time, I would be there in the sabhas to energise and entertain myself with music, nay morkali. For those who don’t know what morkali is, it is 2.0 of kichadi. May even call it upma reloaded. And pour some vatha kuzhambu over it, it leaves you spellbound.

Why wait, the Margazhi season begins and so it is time for you to order your morkali in canteens.

M BHARAT KUMAR