OS Arun Sings for SVT

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Sydhwaney’s Interview of OS Arun

The concert of OS Arun last night at the Bankstown Town Hall had all the hall marks of a successful programme held in aid of a noble cause, raising funds for the Brahmotsavam celebrations of the Sydney Venkateswara Temple. OS Arun commenced his concert with a wonderful alapanai in Raag Hamsadhvani followed by a composition of Papanasam Sivam in Adhi thalam. This was followed by Malayamarutham in kanda chapu, the composition of Swathi Thirunal was inviting. What was a surprise was the presentation of Ragam Rasikapriya in Kotiswara Iyer’s composition Arul Shaiyya Vendum Ayya which was explored rather beautifully with some unusual sangathis [phrases], made for quite a masterpiece of the concert. OS Arun chose the pancharatna krithi “Entharo” as his main piece exploring it with his usual pizzazz. The Varamu, which I was told by another connoisseur has a fifth semi flat note to Malkauns in “thunai purandarul” a famous kriti of Papanasam Sivam was preceded with a Thanam. OS Arun seemed like he would settle into a full exploration of the thanam however in what appeared to be a ‘Jhala’ treatment of the thanam the speed of the thanam was gradually increased. Whilst his prowess in maintaining the swara positions and imagination was vibrant during this thanam, the sudden increase in speed, in my opinion did not achieve the desired effect. The accompanying artists Pallavarajan Nagendran on Mridangam and Ghanavenotham Retnam on Flute and Dr Ashok Malur on Violin, strived to keep up with OS Arun’s imaginative journeys.

The rest of the concert was a true dedication to Bhakthi with songs such as Kurai Ondrum Illai, Shyama Mohana Swathi Thirunal’s composition, some songs on Yashodha and yes, Jagadhodharana, ending with the Govinda chant, OS Arun had the audience wrapped around his little finger. Did OS Arun strive to achieve what he set out to do ? Namely, impress upon his listeners that the great vagikaaras, poets and seers of India deserved to be given the respect of a classical main item in a concert and not just be treated as a “Thukada”  ? The answer to that lies not only in the treatment given to the kriti but the individual experiences of a listener. OS Arun shall be performing in Melbourne this week and shall also sing for the dance production, Quest for the Divine to be held on the 30th May 2010..

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