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Onam Week: Govt to Honour Artistes

Thiruvananthapuram:  With Onam festivities starting to roll, the Kerala Tourism department, on Monday, organised a Meet-the-Artiste programme with playback singer K S Chithra. Participating in the programme, the much-loved Chithra was her usual charming self as she spoke of moving with the times, a dash of gimmickry on reality shows and playback singing as a career choice for today’s youth.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will inaugurate the Onam celebrations at the Nishagandhi Auditorium on Tuesday. The festivities will go on till August 31 in 29 venues. The cultural programmes are to kick off with ‘Magical Melodies’, a musical performance by Chithra, Sudeep and team.

On Tuesday, Chithra will be honoured along with veteran lyricist-director-screenwriter Sreekumaran Thampi and violinist Manoj George by the chief minister, Tourism Director Sheik Pareeth said.

“Chithra has been the pride of every Malayali for 35 years,” he noted, addressing mediapersons. “The state government and the Tourism Department are pleased to have an inaugural programme featuring this great artiste.”

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Chithra, who is coming back to sing in her native Thiruvananthapuram after a long gap, said the troupe hopes to “put up an enjoyable show”. “I enjoy seeing people celebrate and have moments of Onam nostalgia about stealing flowers for the pookalam and getting on swings,” said the Padma awardee, who is releasing a YouTube song for the season.

On a profusion of singers thrown up by ratings-driven reality shows, she said “I am not sure if I would recommend playback singing as a viable career choice now, because there are many singers around today. Sometimes they do not even get mentions in radio credits.”

Also, there is “some gimmickry” in reality shows. “But some of the emotions you see are very real. Everyone develops a bond over the course of the show; sometimes you are moved to tears when someone loses out.”

The six-time national award-winner seemed unfazed by queries about a general “fall” in standards in music and lyrics in the current Malayalam industry. “We have to move with the tide,” said Chithra. “Good and bad are cyclical; we can hope for the good to come again,” she said.