Tyagaraja’s kriti, ‘Maravairi’, is presented as a progressive Carnatic rock and, above all, it celebrates Queer Pride! Maravairi embraces a bold theme while attempting a conceptual divergence from the usual portrayal of Indian classical music. The video explores the journey of two women, a photographer and an actor, who find companionship in each other when they meet at a film festival.
The rendition completely adheres to the traditional Carnatic format. But I wanted to try something new with Nasikabhushani, a rare raga in which the kriti is composed, without affecting the aesthetics. That’s how I zeroed in on progressive Carnatic rock genre. Since the traditional composition was elevated to a different genre, I wanted a different perspective for the video as well and that’s how I zeroed in on this theme. I always wanted to do a music production for a social cause.
The inspiration to take up the subject came from her employer, EY, itself. “The firm has been running a campaign for diversity and inclusiveness since 2015. In September 2018, when the Supreme Court of India delivered the historic verdict that heralded a new dawn for personal liberty and rights of the community, I decided to go ahead with theme of Maravairi.
The kriti, a Sanskrit composition, is Tyagaraja’s dedication to goddess Shakti, who resides in the form of Dharmasamvardhini at Tiruvaiyaru. “He hails the deity as ‘Maravairi’, meaning the enemy of ‘kama’ or lust. The video talks about love and not lust. My point is that the deity blesses those who love. I wanted to treat individuals as unique, respecting their differences and making them feel valued. The two women in the video are representations of Shakti,”
Maravairi is the first video from my debut progressive Carnatic album, Ardhanareeswaram.“Maravairi is my journey; my journey with Carnatic music, which extended later to world music. It is my tribute to the queer community for their unceasingly intense battles for justice.”