`Edutainer’ Madhuvanthi on mission mode
CHENNAI: She comes from an illustrious background. An accomplished dancer, a singer and an actor, she wears assorted hats. Above all, she is an educationist. "God has been kind to let me do all," declares Madhuvanthi Arun. Talking nineteen to dozen, this multi-tasking personality lets her thoughts slip in incessantly in a nonchalant way, "I always like to entertain people," she puts it in a mater-of-fact manner. After all, as she says, "it has been inside me and runs in my gene."
In an interaction with Deccan Chronicle at the Rasam Restaurant in T. Nagar on the cloudy morning of December 14, 2011 held under the auspices of Sri Krishna Sweets, Madhuvanthi comes out as a person who has a sense of history, respect for the culture and a feeling for the generation next. Not surprisingly, she wants to be known as an "Edutainer’.
Iyal, Isai and Natak
On this silver jubilee year of Bharat Kalachar, founded by her grand parents, Madhuvanthi will turn out to participate in all the three formats of the classical art – Iyal, Isai and Natak. She is set to present a unique lec-dem (lecture-cum-demonstration) on "Navarasam (nine kinds of emotion) in Ramayan". She is also slated to sing at the Mohamed Rafi Night organized by Bharat Kalachar this season. "I have sung for my father’s troupe," says she. A great fan of L.R. Easwari, she sings only melody songs. "At the Rafi Night, I will sing only peppy songs… only jolly numbers," she says. She will also don a small comedian role in her father’s play.
Growing with Ramayan
"I have grown with Ramayan. Over the years, I have acquired a perspective of my own on Ramayan. I want to portray it from a current perspective… from an educationist’s point view," elaborates Madhuvanthi. According to her, Swathi Thirunal’s expositions on the subject "are so simple and easy to communicate to young minds." Why should only older people form the audience for such programmes on great epics like Ramayan? She is out to change this trend. "I want the younger generation to fill the audience," she declares. Her one-and-a-hour programme, to be sure, is targeted at the young ones. She is keen to present it differently. Why can’t the emotions in Ramayan be pictured and presented differently? The angry emotions of Rama at the killing of Jatayu by Raavan and the pains experienced by him over the abduction of Sita by Ravaan – Ramayan as a story is an interpretation of several minds. Madhuvanthi wants to look at Ramayan from an entirely new prism and take the story to the younger ones in an easy-to-communicate and a friendly-to-understand way. Rajaji’s Ramayana, according to her, "is a brilliant exposition". She is taken in by the Tamil film `Sampoorna Ramayanam’ by A.P. Nagarajan. "Ramayan carries all emotions of a human being," she points out.
She wants Caliber Foundation, the school promoted by her, to become "a huge university teaching all alternative streams of education along with regular education." Is she under stress all the time because of her multi-taking ability? The stress comes not because she does multiple works. It comes more due to the awareness of her responsibility. "I have a reputation to protect, a family name to sustain and a personal identity to carry forward," she says. Often times, the doors don’t open to many people. In her case, her father Y.G. Mahendra (a comedian) and grand mother Mrs. Y.G.P (as she is fondly referred to by many) have been a great source of inspiration for her. "She (Mrs. Y.G.P.) is my Valmiki and I am her Luv Kucha," Madhuvanthi puts it succinctly. A transparent home environment, free exchange of ideas and democratic functioning have all helped her to mould her personality. "At home, we often times agree to disagree," she points out.
In the field of `edutainment’, indefatigable Madhuvanthi wants to leave an "indelible mark on the youngsters and change their perspective in my own little way." There "has to be a take home value" for youngsters in whatever Madhuvanthi does as an `edutainer." Well, this outspoken multi-dimensional personality indeed "wears the heart on her sleeve" and goes about her chosen tasks in nonchalant way. Surely, Maduvanthi is on a mission mode!