This summer, all eyes of the world will be on London as it proudly hosts the 2012 Olympics.
Despite the fact that there are no Tamil athletes taking part in London 2012 representing the various different nations, there is still a strong Tamil connection throughout the games. Here is what we have spotted so far.
The connection began 100 days ago when London 2012 organisers released a video to promote the games. The video simply starts off with a Tamil child welcoming the world to London with a warm Tamil greeting, ‘Vanakkam’ followed by greetings in different languages. View video
On the 27th July, there is a stronger sense of Tamil pride present as during the opening ceremony, directed by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle of Slumdog Millionaire, an old Tamil film song is to be used as part of the opening playlist.
Ilaiyaraaja’s ‘Naanthaan ungappanda’ from the 80’s film ‘Ram Lakshman’ starring Kamal Hassan originally sung by S.P. Balasubramaniam, admittedly one of his lesser known songs, is to be used as part of the playlist for the Opening Ceremony.
Ilaiyaraaja has, in his entire career thus far, composer over 950 scores for film music.
Despite the fact that the hit song is being featured at this highly-anticipated show, it is still unclear whether or not Ilaiyaraaja is making the journey to see his song in action at the games.
The hit rapper M.I.A. will also have her song ‘Paper Planes’ played in the Olympic playlist. The female rapper born, Maya Arulpragasam, first recorded the song for her second album, Kala. The song was featured on the Hollywood film, ‘Pineapple Express’, and shot to international fame whilst also being sampled on the Jay-Z and T.I. Single ‘Swagger like Us’. However after it was reworked by A R Rahman it was used in the Boyle film, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.
Chennai based maestro A R Rahman who is also featuring as part of the impressive line-up through his new composition, ‘Nimma Nimma’, a hybrid desi sound with brass elements. He composed the song to ‘celebrate the Indian influence in the U.K.’ and as a result the track has been composed in Punjabi.
Running with the Tamil connection to the games, Tamil Nadu based band Staccato, are performing live at the Olympic Village on the 31st July and 2nd August. Beating out 10,000 other applicants worldwide they were chosen by the Danny Boyle to play at the games. After being chosen alongside a band from China, Staccato were struggling to find sponsors to fund their trip to the United Kingdom. Now having arrived with sponsorship the 10 member ensemble, which includes A R Rahman’s nephew Kashif, the Indian band will be performing an 80 minute set over the 2 days.
As part of the Olympic Torch Relay, members of Britain’s Tamil Community who have contributed their time and effort to the British community were selected to carry the Olympic torch on its way to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. Sivakumar Renganathan, GB Taekwondo National Development Coach and Siva Kaneswaran, from the popular boyband The Wanted were among the few torchbearers chosen for the event. To view more on the torchbearers click here.
A sneak peek into rehearsals showed an impressive lighting display, supplied by Tamil businesswoman Miss V******rajah whose UK based manufacturing company are providing the lighting rig for the opening and closing ceremonies.The £27 million opening ceremony gears up to be an eye-catching show filled with cultural diversity and world-class music.
Finally a special mention to all the Tamil Olympic volunteers who have given up their time to help in these prestigious games alongside other members of the British public.
Don’t forget to tune into the Olympic opening ceremony on the 27th July at 21:00 GMT.