Yazhpanam Thedchanamoorthy was an unlikely thavil player in every respect. He dressed immaculately and could be seen riding a Royal Enfield motorcycle, and, occasionally, a car, at breakneck speed. His admirers say the music world is yet to see talent that can match his style of playing, marked by speed and imagination.
A documentary on the great thavil has now won a national award for the Best Arts/ Cultural Film. ‘Yazhpanam Thedchanamoorthy: Music Beyond Boundaries’ offers a peep into the personality of a musician who was snatched away at the peak of his career.
“I always wonder whether he is an ordinary human being or God,” says thavil exponent Haridwaramangalam A.K. Palanivel in the film, while explaining how Thedchanamoorthy would increase the speed of his playing without the slightest distortion of rhythm.
“He had a unique style and would begin with a set of words. As the solo performance progresses, we would be at our wit’s end to understand what he was up to. He ushered in a renaissance in playing the thavil,” recalls another thavil player T.R. Govindarajan, who moved closely with Thedchanamoorthy when he lived in Thanjavur.
He was born in Inuvil, Jaffna, in 1933, and died in 1975. He belonged to a period when musicians from India and Sri Lanka regularly played in both the countries.
“He was so popular that he was called the MGR of the music world. People followed him from one temple to another to listen to his music,” said director of the film Amshan Kumar, while acknowledging the role of Padmanabha Iyer and late writer Dhenuka in the making of the documentary. ( The Hindu)