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Reality Show on Carnatic Music- What good?

by Abbi

I have been watching the reality show ‘Carnatic Music Idol’ aired by Jaya TV. As a viewer, I have a mixed feeling on the aesthetics of such shows. The cynics may brand me as a conservative but I cannot resist myself from putting pen to paper on the subject.For a moment, let us think who accrues the most through such programmes. Does it bring to light some of the best hidden talents and thereby further the art form? Or is it a blatant TRP gimmick only eventuating in the producers and channels hoarding up more wealth? Whatever may be said and done, these shows have come to stay. I for one would sympathize with the participants who are so gullible as to not realize that such shows may be scripted and contrived keeping neither the greater interests of theirs nor the art forms.

The judges are undoubtedbly eminent musicians. The participants are evidently still in their learning process. To expect them to have in-depth theoretical knowledge is asking for a little too much. Of course the instrumentalists will have the knowledge, as their base is swara. The judges are using theory as the yardstick which I think is unfair. To be honest, the teachers today do not focus on imparting theoretical knowledge to learners of vocal music. If they did, they would find majority of the learners discontinuing their training. Only the very passionate would dare continue. To be honest, music has to be pleasing to ears, without going off-tune. One need not necessarily know the fine difference between a Nayaki and Darbar, or a Madhyamavati,Sriragam and Manirangu for deriving listening pleasure. The knowledge would be acquired by performers through intense listening of concerts and as they mature with each performance. Being too critical on this score to the point of shattering the confidence of the participants is not fair. This apart, how much of this programme is scripted to favor the privileged can be gauged if one had watched last year’s show.

To sum up, it is a pity that even carnatic music has joined the bandwagon of reality shows such as Indian Idol and Nach Baliye. It gives a feeling that music is becoming a trade from being divine. Earlier days, music was taught as a service to share with those devoted to its cause and for attaining eternal bliss. The manner in which this noble art is being decimated to low levels of commercialism is painful to the worshipper. Such shows more than raising the levels could have a negative impact on the morale of the young artistes.