Trivandrum (Thiruvanthapuram) the capital of Kerala, organizes a number of cultural programs through out the year. The distinctive ways of celebrating the festivals in Kerala is considered to be the unique feature of its culture . There are various forms of entertainment to cater to all groups. Trivandrum always celebrates many happy moments and you can see a live atmosphere here irrespective of the time you visit. All year round Trivandrum has various activities to offer to the citizens and tourists such as performing arts, classical dance and music festivals . The performances are an entertaining collage of music, movement, song, dance , drama and much more, thrilling audiences of all ages. Most of the cultural events are free, staged in open-air theatre and in various concert halls in the city. Concert are also conducted by many foreign musical groups.
Indian classical dances are performed regularly in Trivandrum . The ‘Nishagandhi Open Air Theatre’, in Kanakakunnu Palace grounds hosts this festival of Indian classic dance and music every year. You can see many dance programs and have some thrilling and fascinating experience here. This captivating dance forms presents a stunning glance of the rich dance heritage of India. The dances include Kathak, Mohiniyattam, Odissi, Bharathanatyam to name a few. The enticing musical tunes combining with the stylish classical moves are truly entertaining for any enthusiastic viewer. Admission to these events are usually free.
Mohiniyattam is a semi-classical dance form of Kerala.
Performing Arts and Art forms
Margi Campus & Theatre is an organization known for conducting classical dance performances especially Kathakali and Kutiyattom. In its history spanning over three decades Margi has always strived for the revival of the unique art forms of Kerala. The core aim of the organisation is to promote arts of Kerala in every corner of the world. The organization provides Gurukula system of training for these classical art forms and also holds regular performances special presentations of Kathakali , Mohiniyattom , Koodiyattom and other traditional arts of Kerala. Margi was started in 1970 in Trivandrum, Kerala, and is located near East Fort , Valiyasalai. Trivandrum.
Theyam- Art Form
Classical Martial Arts
Founded in 1983 by Guru Balachandran Nair, (I.S.M.A.) the Indian School of Martial Arts has been practising, teaching and preserving the ancient indigenous arts of Kalaripayattu and Kalarichikilsa. Their headquarters in Vazhuthacaud, Trivandrum, is housed in a three storyed building. It has a traditional Kalari – the arena for practising the art, built ten feet below ground level. Literally thousands of students, patients, and guests have passed though its door. In 2003 Guru Balachandran achieved his long held dream by opening Kalariyil Dharmikam Ashram in the Trivandrum district. Since that time the main focus of I.S.M.A. has shifted to the Ashram. The School in Vazhuthacaud, Trivandrum is still conducting classes on a daily basis for the youth of Trivandrum. Both the school in Vazhuthacaud, and Kalariyil Dharmikam Ashram continue to play a vital role in the preservation of traditional arts, traditions, and values.
Classical music festival
One of the most popular places in India for Indian classical music is Kerala.The Swathi Thirunal College of Music and ‘College of fine arts’ are the leading institutions related to music and arts.
The Kerala government along with certain organizations conduct different programs for the lovers of classical music. Swathi Sangeethotsavam or Swathi Thirunal Music Festival is actually the most famous among them and it lasts for one week. This festival is conducted every year in January in the courtyard of Horse palace which is very much close to the famous Padmanabha Swami Temple. The music festival features both Carnatic and Hindustani classical music. This festival is held as a tribute to the great Swathi Thirunal for his enduring musical works. He gave a new dimension to the Kerala musical tradition and holds nearly 400 compositions of Hindustani and Carnatic music to his credit.
Soorya Festival, an annual cultural event organised by the Soorya Stage and Film Society is one of the longest and most prestigious cultural events in India. The festival which lasts for more than a hundred days is held in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala. Soorya festival endeavors to achieve “Integration through Culture” and aspires to propagate the rich Indian culture around the globe. Dance, music, poetry, drama, cinema, documentary – anything and everything that flaunts the rich artistic tradition of India is featured in the 100- day-long festival. Nataraja Krishnamoorthy, popularly known as Soorya Krishnamoorthy, a pioneer of Light and Sound show in Malayalam, is the founder of the Soorya Stage and Film Society. He brought Thiruvananthapuram, into the cultural and film map of India, through various cultural and film festivals
The opening ceremony of the Soorya dance and music festival started with a classical concert by the famous Malayalam playback singer Dr. K.J. Yesudas. It was a special occasion for the singer too who was performing for the 36th successive year in the Soorya festival. Adding to the glory was yet another feat of his completion of 50 years in playback singing.
Yeshudas in concert
Amjad Ali Khan & Sons
Amjad Ali Khan has contributed immensely in the field of classical music. A distinguished maestro in the field of playing Sarod, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is popularly known as the “Sarod Samrat”. He is the sixth generation Sarod player in his renowned family. He plays the Sarod with his finger nails instead of finger tips. This gives a clear ringing sound and is also the most difficult technique to apply on the Sarod. He was so impressed with the cultural activities and natural environment of Trivandrum that he expressed his desire to have a base in the capital. The government of Kerala has provided land in Veli, Trivandrum for him to build an International School of Music.
Entertainment: Movies & Studios
Keralites are movie buffs and record number of movies are produced in Malayalam to entertain the people. Thiruvananthapuram city holds the largest number of theaters in the state, all within a radius of 3 km.There are over 18 cinema halls which screen films in Malayalam, Tamil, English and Hindi.,
The Malayalam film industry was based earlier in Chennai (Madras) but slowly started to set in roots in Trivandrum towards the end of 1970s. The Kerala State Film Development Corporation, established in 1975 by the Government of Kerala, accelerated that re-planting. As a result, many studios and related industries started popping up in and around Trivandrum . There are also two movie studios in the city- Chithranjali and Merryland.
The International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK): Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, a Kerala Government Institution to promote cinema conducts International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) every year. The Academy today has become a major player in the cultural landscape of Kerala reaching students, teachers, and ordinary people through various initiatives designed to carry the message of cinema as not only a means of entertainment but of serious academic reflection and a tool to preserve and document the history of society. A competition section for the films from Asian and African and Latin American countries is the highlight of the festival. The Golden Crow Pheasant Award with a cash prize for the best feature film is to be shared equally between the director and the producer. IFFK 2015 is due to commence in December.
The Kinfra Film and Video Park, located in the city near the Technopark, is one of the most advanced film and animation production centres and the first animation park in India. The city serves as home to animation companies like Toonz India Ltd and Tata Elxsi.
The presence of international cultural centers in Trivandrum has led to variety of cultural programs every year providing enthralling and riveting performance and keeping the audience spell bound.
Russian Cultural Centre established in Trivandrum in the early 70’s is an extension of the Russian Embassy promoting Russian culture. The Center has brought several Russian dance troupes and artists to the city and organized Russian food and cultural festivals, choir music and the like. Russian artists provided mesmerizing performances over the years like ballet, formal dancing , folk music and so on. The famous dance ensemble “Rhythm” from the capital of the Russian Republic of Karelia – Petrozavodsk performed a 90 minutes programme. The ballroom dances performed by the 15 member group was a totally new experience to the audience of more than 1200 people. The “Rhythm” group performed 18 different dances forms, comprising all the possible varieties of ballroom dances: waltz, foxtrot, samba, etc.
Noted violinist Manoj George, and his team of nearly 30 musicians presented a Fusion Concert “Titled :Mile Sur Mera Tumhara.” T he concert was a blend of various styles of music including Western, Classical, Irish, folk and rock. Manoj George was credited for his role as a choral arranger in the Grammy award-winning album ‘Winds of Samsara’. The Fusion concert was performed in the newly refurbished Tagore Centenary Hall in Vazhuthacaud in the city.
A Piano concert by famous American pianist Dan Roth was held in Bharat Bhavan Trivandrum. It was organized by the Indian Council for Cultural Affairs.
To celebrate Easter and summer holidays, Goethe Zentrum at Trivandrum organised a Bavarian concert. Musicians from Kerala performed alongside German artistes, showcasing an enjoyable and memorable treat.
As part of Bonjour India, Festival of France in India,Alliance Française de Trivandrum presented a rock show , by Vendeurs d’Enclumes at Nishagandh Theatre. It was an unprecedented experience for the audience who witnessed this show, as the Indian audience were seldom exposed to live shows in which singers actively emoted according to each song in a very dynamic manner.
The Kovalam Literary Festival will take place at the VJT Hall in Trivandrum on October 10, 2015. Well known writer, thinker and former civil servant Gopalkrishna Gandhi ((Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson)who was also governor of Bengal from 2004 to 2009 will deliver the eighth K.C John memorial lecture at the Kovalam Literary Festival. Artists, writers , journalist and eminent persons are expected to converge for the event.
International Book Fair and Cultural Fest
DC International Book Fair And Cultural Fest 2015Trivandrum will be on at Chandrashekharan Nair Stadium, from September 30 to October 13, 2015. The DC Book fest will coincide with Kovalam Literary Festival . This is free and open to the public.
The cultural festival in Trivandrum provides a variety of events appealing to everyone. But, those citizens who are unable to visit the venue to see the live performances can watch some of the shows from their home on their television. Many private television channels provide round the clock entertainment.