Astro has launched its annual four-day Ponggu Tamil event, in celebration of the Ponggal festival.
Ponggal is a harvest festival traditionally celebrated by the Tamils at the end of the harvest season. This year, the festival began on Jan 13.
Ponggu Tamil is Astro’s reality-based TV series that follows the challenges and training a group of 16 talented Malaysian Indian youths went through while learning about Tamil folk heritage via the arts in India. This time around, the training was done in town of Ooty in Tamil Nadu, India.
To cap the show, the group will also be doing live performances at various locations in Malaysia. This year, they will head to Kulim in Kedah, Bagan Datuk in Perak and Rawang in Selangor. The youths will play traditional musical instruments, perform cultural dances as well as take the lead in a Ponggal rice cooking ceremony.
Apart from the 16 Malaysians, invited artists from India will also be on hand to showcase their talents. These events will then be documented for the show, which is aimed at reconnecting Malaysian Indian youth with their folk heritage.
“This year we decided to invite Velmurugan, a popular singer in the South Indian cinema scene to perform some folk songs. We also have Thambi Ramaiyah, a South Indian comedian with great insight on folk culture,” said Astro’s content management group senior vice president Dr Rajamani Chellamuthu.
The vibrant and colourful celebration of Ponggal brings to life some ancient dances from Tamil Nadu. “This ancient dances will be performed in the programme for people to be aware of the culture. Many have forgotten and are not aware on the vast folk dances that we have. So this is a great opportunity for everyone to learn about the variety of folk art dances, instruments and food,” said Rajamani.
Ponggu Tamil airs Jan 14 at 7.30pm on Astro Vinmeen HD (Ch 231) and Astro Vaanavil (Ch 201). Subsequent episodes will be show from Jan 16 at 7pm. – Shobna Periayaih