AIRing earthy flavours

All India Radio, Tiruchi, completes 80 years. Staff, past and current share memories

Information is a click away and there is no dearth of entertainment channels. Amidst all this onslaught, All India Radio is holding its own, staying vibrant and relevant. The two-part article that appeared in this supplement on November 9 and 16, 2018, was about the exploits of Chennai AIR, which had completed 80 years. Now it is time to look at the Tiruchi Station, which will be touching the same milestone on May 16.
In 1941, A.S. Bokhari, first director general of AIR, made this observation about listeners in Madras and Tiruchi, "I cannot think of any other place that has such knowledgeable classical music rasikas."
Music was a major component in Tiruchi AIR's broadcasts. Broadcasts of Tiruvaiyaru Aradhana began in 1944 and continue to this day. Senior announcer Chitra Valentina gives the live commentary for the Aradhana. "Every year I choose a different theme to speak on — Pancharatna kritis, Bangalore Nagaratnamma's role in the Aradhana, analysing various aspects of Tyagaraja's kritis and so on," says Chitra.Subramaniam set to tune Tamil poetry, including Aimperumkappiyam and Kutrala Kuravanji. He did a musical on the life of Arunagirinathar. A listener wrote in: "The mental imagery evoked by this musical gave me the feeling that I was watching a film." Another musical about people and customs of Kollimalai was titled 'Kolliyampaavai.' Subramaniam ran a programme, where he would explain a Tyagaraja kriti, and this would be followed by a singer rendering it. As many as 200 kritis were covered. He did a similar programme for the Saiva Thirumurai and Tiruppugazh. A day before his retirement, he produced a musical on the life of Muthu Thandavar, in which he used only two instruments — flute and veena. "Although I was in the rural section, A. Subramaniam trained me to sing, and in AIR dramas, I invariably had a 'singing' role," says Vanmathy Kannan........

Forwarded By : Jhavendra Kumar Dhruw

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