From her apartment in Mumbai, Gayatri Asokan sang her ghazal, Suna hai log... Nearly a thousand kilometres away, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy danced to that lovely melody from her home in Bengaluru.
Watching them on Instagram were thousands of fans of music and dance from across the world. COVID-19 may have stopped art around the world, but in this digital age, creativity could still take wings. Lakshmi and Gayatri showed how.
The occasion for this unusual collaboration could not have been more opportune: it was 20 years ago that they both made their debut in cinema, with the Malayalam film Arayannangalude Veedu.
Gayatri’s first ever film song – Deena dayalo Rama… – had Lakshmi lip-synching in the 2000 movie.
Lakshmi Gopalaswamy (above) and Gayatri Asokan (below) during their show on Instagram
On their Instagram show – titled Ghazal and Ghungroo — it was Lakshmi, who sang the opening lines of the song, though. She may have taken some of the viewers by surprise – those who don’t know that the dancer-actress is also a trained Carnatic singer.
“Lakshmi is so talented and I am glad that the programme went off so well,” Gayatri tells The Hindu over phone. “Our friendship goes a long way back and we have performed together on stage several times.”
They know that they may not be able to return to the stage – and in Lakshmi’s case in front of the movie camera, either – anytime soon. “These are indeed difficult times for performing artistes,” says Gayatri. “I was supposed to have performed in several places these last couple of months, including China.”
Gayatri, whose career as a ghazal singer took off after moving to Mumbai from her hometown of Thrissur three years ago, had already been part of a few other performances online during the coronavirus lockdown, but it was a first for Lakshmi.
“I thought attempting something like this would be interesting, for both of us and lovers of music and dance,” says Lakshmi. “There isn’t much the artistes could do these days, otherwise.”