The ongoing Chennai Kalai Theru Vizha saw some unpleasant scenes on Sunday when the Chennai police stopped a song performed by The Casteless Collective, because of the word ‘Modi’ in the lyrics. The band, whose music aims for equality regardless of any man-made difference, was performing as a part of the Theru Vizha at Elliot’s Beach, Chennai, on Sunday.
The event began with paraiattam by artistes Pandian and Aruna, followed by a performance by singer Chinmayi Sripada. She sang some of her popular numbers like ‘Idhaythai Yedho Ondru’ from the movie Yennai Arindhaal, ‘Oru Deivam Thantha Poove’ from Kannathil Muthamittal, ‘Anbil Avan’ from Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa.
Later, the performance of The Casteless Collective began on an enthusiastic note. Their songs, widely known for its revolutionary lines, were enjoyed by the audience. These were songs in praise Dr Ambedkar, songs that wished for a casteless society, and satires of people’s approach towards caste. A few minutes into one of the songs titled ‘Modi Masthan’, policeman came and stopped the performance. Nityanand Jayaraman and TM Krishna, the organizers of the event, tried explaining to the police. But the song eventually had to be stopped.
Talking to Silverscreen about this incident, the band leader Tenma said, “This is the first time we are facing such a situation. Usually, we perform in front of thousands of people and they enjoy and understand what we sing. But we never faced such an objection.”
“Remember the popular gana song ‘Nagoor Masthan’ sung by Pullianthopu Palani? We just tried to sing an updated version of that song with new content. Of course, police action didn’t surprise us; we have been facing this kind of treatment in this society for a long time. That is what we are trying to change. But yesterday’s incident is more like stopping our freedom of expression. They could have simply ignored us, but they couldn’t stand such an act for even a few minutes.”
“But after the event, so many people came to me and kissed me for our performance. They are not the people on social media. They are poor people who live in and around there. They can understand what we are trying to educate through our music. We will continue the same,” he said on a strong note.
Image Courtesy: Chennai Kalai Theru Vizha Facebook page