Nine inmates of Viyyur Central Jail in Thrissur district are all set for their 'arangettam', stage debut, on May 8 before a select audience after months-long training under a professional artist. The date of the event, titled 'jail pooram', is also significant as it falls on the eve of the famed 'Thrissur Pooram, known for its colourful festivities, including parading of caparisoned elephants and performance of percussionists.
Noted percussionist Prakashan Pazhambalacode, who has a large number of disciples in and outside the country, has trained the selected prisoners and jail staff as part of a rehabilitation project. Prakashan said though people generally believed that jail inmates are hard-core criminals, many of his 'students' at Viyyur Jail had exceptional artisitic talents.
"The interest shown by prisoners to learn the instrument was a real surprise for me. They picked up the basic lessons faster. It is really a proud moment for me," he said. Besides nine prisoners, four jail staff would also perform with them. As many as 15 professional artists would also become part of the programme, he added.