Many say that folk traditions are slowly perishing. But the fact is, this is the right time for its reformation. Few people are working very hard to revive and spread this folk art , “VILLUPAATTU”. One among them is Lion. K. Manimegalai Kandhasamy. She has been in this field for more than 15 years. We asked her, among other arts, why did she specifically opt for this folk form. For that, she replied that among other specific art forms like “Iyal” (Speech), “Isai” (Music) and “Naadagam” (Drama), Villupaattu is the only art form which has all the three as an integral part and complimenting each other and thus shaped itself in a new form of art. The specialty of this Villupaattu inspired her to venture into it and formed a new group of her own namely “MUGHAI KALAI KUZHU”.
The origin of this art is believed to go back to those nomadic days of human race of pre-historic period. The bow used in this art is known to be used as an arm (along with arrows) of neandarthal man for hunting purpose. Over a period down the time, he accidently tried to use it for entertaining purpose by tapping the tightened thread of that bow that created some musical sound. This made him to create a dialogue or rhythmic language to convey his ideas to others. This is believed to have developed into a refined form of current trend in this art.
She explains the reason for starting and naming her group as, “Mugai” means BUD. It is like how a bud is important to the growth of a plant, so is the young generation who are the budding stars and also the hope of future for this art. So, she started identifying the talents and passion among youngsters for tamil art and culture which are in the brim of its extinction and encouraged the young talents by making them join in her group and thus created a new identity and recognition for both the art form and also the youngsters who joined with her in the Villupaattu.
She strongly believes that there is no extinction for this type of folk art as this still remains afresh in the minds of aspiring people.
When asked whether she was still following the old traditional methods of this form of art or introduced any new methods contemporarily. She replied that she preferred following the old ideals but added her own flavor of avoiding the traditional welcoming notes like “Thanthanathom endru solliye…” and including a new flavor in her welcoming notes as “Aadhavane!!! Paghalavane !!!” explaining that this line implies worshiping the SUN God which is universally worshipped irrespective of religion as it is an accepted fact that without SUN shine life does not exist.
She says that so far people had an idea that the very word Villupaattu meant boredom. But, in recent days, after seeing her group’s performance, most of the people changed their mind and appreciated their performance. This is mainly due to her balanced selection of scripts and contemporary flavor which entertains and educates the social morals for all walks of life. The performers in her group are mostly school and college students only.
Contents of her scripts would, by and large, be derived mainly from Indian Epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana, Silapathigaaram, Manimegalai etc. These also would include biography of various leaders, contemporary issues, spiritual and religious scripts. The above scripts and supporting music and lyrics, comedy track will be taken care of students under her able guidance. This would surely make a positive impact on people’s mind rather than treating it just as a show.
Her group has performed more than 200 programs on various stages across Tamilnadu. These include various Tamil organizations, charity based organizations, schools, colleges, lions clubs, temples, music academy, old age homes, orphanages etc. The above list includes both high level and low level classes in society. This is purely on passion over her profession and not for any monetary gain. The duration of each program would vary from 15 minutes to 45 minutes and even for 1 hour.
The success formula behind their each and every victory is truly because of students’ hard work, dedication and their parents’ support. She also says that there are no hurdles in this profession. She, along with her group plan each and every program that come in their way and execute them very efficiently.
She further says that, for any type of traditional art performers, performing at least once in one’s lifetime at Sri Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram would be their life moto. Her group fortunately was able to get a chance to do so. Further, this group was fortunate enough to get one more chance in the very next year, organized by Kamarajar Peravai.
She says that her happiest moment would be whenever her group students get appreciation before great dignitaries before whom they gave performances.
When she was asked about her future plans and goals, she said that she wanted that her group, besides performing in Tamilnadu, her team should rise to great heights by receiving national level recognition. So far, media like “Aval Vikatan”, “Dinathanthi” etc, have projected her group as “Villisaiyil Veroondrum Vizhudhugal” and “Naatupura Kalaiyil Ilaya Pattaalam”. This would be possible only through media, which have been already encouraging her group and believes that her group has yet to rise to that level, which would definitely be possible through media and she thanks the media for their continued support. Her ambition is that her group should get more chances through Television Media which happens to be a very powerful one that reaches all walks of life very easily
N. Sai Vidhya
V. Vincie Eunice
A. Beryl Hannah Monica
T. Mohana Priya
V. Akila Devi