Television

HistoryTV18 brings 'Meenakshi Amman & The Marvel of Madurai'

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MUMBAI: HistoryTV18 is adding to its India offering with the new original production, ‘Meenakshi Amman & The Marvel Of Madurai,’ premiering on May 4th, Monday 8 PM. As the world faces an unprecedented challenge, and the government rules out public celebrations, HistoryTV18 brings viewers an immersive experience of the Chithirai festival and the famed Meenakshi Temple, at home on television screens. The one-hour programme premieres on the auspicious day of Thirukalyanam.

Filmed in 2019, the documentary celebrates the legend of Meenakshi Amman, Mother Goddess, queen, and patron deity of the ancient city of Madurai. The film showcases the first two weeks of the grand celebrations in Tamil Nadu’s second-largest city, taking viewers behind the scenes of key events, along with their back-stories and socio-cultural significance. It presents never-seen-before visuals of the Chithirai festivities, tracing its history, uncovering amazing facts, and delving into fascinating folklore. The narrative also relies on human stories, through characters whose lives are inextricably intertwined with the mother goddess, Her temple, and its most important annual event. The documentary also takes a closer look at the logistics, security, and scale of organising the massive festival.

The film also explores the historical and architectural significance of Madurai’s glorious landmark, its origins, expansion and present form. High-definition and 4K cameras reveal the incredible art and architecture of the many structures spread over the 14-acre complex, along with insights of experts and temple authorities to provide context and perspective. With a staggering 33,000 intricate sculptures, painted ceilings, mandapams, shrines, and fourteen towering gopurams, embellished with thousands of mythological characters and fantastical creatures, the temple is a feat of artistic genius and geometric precision. The storytelling, with stunning visuals and slickly-edited sequences, shines the light on South India’s indigenous craftsmanship, engineering, and cultural richness.

The original production, a year in the making, captures the pomp and ceremony of some of the most important days of the Chithirai festival - from ‘pattabhishekham’ the coronation of the goddess,  to ‘thirukalyanam’ the divine wedding, and ‘rathotsavam’ the chariot or car festival.

Also featuring prominently is the Kallalaghar festivities that honour Lord Vishnu, with lakhs of people arriving at the Vaigai River in Madurai. The event has socio-political significance and is historically significant, in addition to being a breathtaking spectacle.

The enduring aura of the mother goddess with the recurring theme of divine feminine power or shakti, the love and faith of Her people, the colour and sheer scale of the festival, make for compelling viewing. Top-end production values, characteristic of HistoryTV18’s award-winning originals make the show a must-watch for all.

Avinash Kaul, MD A+E Networks | TV18 and CEO Network18, says: “At HistoryTV18, we believe in telling stories that are visually spectacular, relevant for our viewers and genre-defining. ‘Meenakshi Amman & The Marvel of Madurai’ is the latest in a set of dramatic documentaries about India’s cultural history that engage, entertain, and inform. It is not just compelling content but also a celebration of our nation‘s rich diversity. The show does a great job of presenting the festival, especially in light of current circumstances, making it possible for everyone to be a part of the celebrations through our channel.”

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