This was another one of those weeks where Chennai showed what an all-rounder it can be, with everything from food to fashion, along with a heavy focus on the performing arts.
The Madras Jazz Festival at Phoenix MarketCity saw phenomenal numbers over the span of two days, with diversity both in the line-up and the audience. Now in its third edition, the fest has built up a formidable group of jazz followers, many of whom are young enthusiasts of the genre. Rather a pleasant surprise and a fact that did not go unnoticed. Shubhangi Joshi, a budding jazz musician, opened day one, managing to hold her own against the rest with a fusion of jazz and rock. Plus all the ‘air guitaring’ in the audience made for a bit of extra entertainment. Kolkata’s famous Amyt Datta Project, with a whole package of young musicians, took the stage to a roaring crowd, with what one of the hard-core fans described to me as ‘a masculine ethos’. On day two, home boy Martin Visser had his fans in the crowd (no surprises there) with perfect music for a breezy Sunday afternoon, while The Generation Band— comprising sisters Mohin and Esani Dey—closed the fest with a power-packed performance, taking jazz rock to another level.
Mid-week saw a packed Music Academy where FICCI Flo Chennai presented Soul of a Woman, a soliloquy by Kalki Koechlin. Master of ceremonies Anuradha Menon, aka Lola Kutty, warmed up the crowd with a little Mallu vs Gujju comedy, before she handed the stage over to the star of the evening. It was quite a shift of gear, with a more intense and thought-provoking subject matter, but Koechlin managed it with ease, taking the audience on the journey with her. Her performance was followed by an interactive session where, interestingly enough, most of the questions were from the gentlemen, who made up a sizeable chunk of the crowd.
Closing out the performances for the week was standup comedian Sorabh Pant, at popular coffee destination Starbucks Anna Nagar, proclaiming to the world that their ‘Awesome Thursdays’ are back. Kicking off what is to be a weekly series of events by well-known artistes, the funny man from the East India Comedy group entertained the crowd with his unique brand of humour. He was a comedy jukebox, going for a more interactive style, resulting in him getting to know his audience quite intimately. He also tried some jokes as a test run for his new show, My Baby Thinks I’m Funny, that he’ll be bringing to Chennai this August.