It is rumoured that the heavily promoted Engeyum Epothu Raja Concert which is billed to be held on the 3rd November in Toronto may not go ahead after all…and considering the man himself, musical maestro Ilaiyaraja hasn’t left Chennai yet, this could well be the case!
There is the complication of the weather conditions in Tamil Nadu due to cyclone Neelam and in the east coast of North America, which has been devastated by the recent superstorm Sandy.
The concert is Illayaraja’s first show in North America in several years. With round-the-clock adverts on Vijay TV, and the hundreds of thousands of Tamils (from Ilankai / Sri Lanka) in Toronto, the event would have a good turnout. The evening’s line-up features huge Tamil stars including singers SP Balasubramaniam, Hariharan and Chitra, and familiar faces from the film industry such as Gautham Menon and comedian Vivek.
The show raised concern amongst the Toronto Tamil community; some felt it would not be appropriate for the show to take place during the month of November, when Eelam Tamils commemorate “Maveeral Naal” on the 27th November – a day to remember those who lost their lives during Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war.
The Canadian Tamil Congress released a statement with regrds to this issue, stating "…it is our understanding, that most recently, here has been an attempt by certain individuals or organizations to mark the entire calendar month of November as “Maveerar month” – thereby unilaterally declaring it as a month where activities that involve entertainment and leisure is frowned upon. This is something new that has come up only now with no historical reference or relevance."
"While the Canadian Tamil Congress respects different opinions and views of individuals or organizations, CTC remains concerned that these views should not be forced upon the community nor should these views be used to intimidate others into following certain beliefs. Members of our community should be allowed to make their own decision and live life as they please as in any other free society. They should not be branded as traitors for any difference of opinion.
We urge all Tamils and Tamil organizations to direct all their energy and resources on issues that matters most to Tamils in Sri Lanka and around the world. We have many issues coming up like the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva on November 1, 2012, UN Human Rights Council session in March 2013 and the Commonwealth Heads of States meeting in Sri Lanka in late 2013. We need all Tamils and interested organizations help, to continue to spotlight what went on in Sri Lanka and bring justice to Tamils in Sri Lanka and around the world. Canadian Tamil Congress will be there all the way and speak for Tamils at every opportunity."
UK’s independent Tamil stars MC SAI and Kutti Hari were billed to perform at the event, which would provide them a much needed platform to over a million viewers across South India & the globe through Vijay TV’s coverage. Rapper MC SAI took to his Facebook page to air his views on the issue: "first off all 3rd of november has nothing to do with 27th november.. The month of november has never been declared as a month of sadness.. so many millions of people died in the world war 2 yet everyone spends 11th of november in memory of the fallen soldiers.. in eelam we spend 27th of november in memory of the fallen soldiers.. it has never on the history of planet earth been a whole month spend in memory [sic]". Click here to read his full statement.
There’s no doubt that – if the concert does not go ahead – there will be a lot of disappointed people; many have purchased tickets in anticipation for this extravaganza, but also many artistes will have missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime performance opportunity that would have given them a platform to perform to the world.
Even though a few website have reported on the rumours, no official statement has been released by the concert’s organisers, but keep it locked to Thamarai.com and we’ll be sure to keep you updated!