Professor C.V. Chandrasekhar's quiet brilliance shone through his performance that was devoid of embellishments.
Professor C.V. Chandrasekhar's Bharatanatyam performance for the Narada Gana Sabha festival was a treat for the rasikas who were lucky enough to be there. Titled ‘Divine Love and Adoration,' it represented all that is classical, aesthetic and dignified in the art form. His quiet brilliance shone through a performance that was unapologetically traditional and absolutely devoid of embellishments.
Love (for the divine) as in sringara and adoration (of the divine) as in bhakti were the corner stones of the thematic presentation. The nayika bhava in the varnam (‘Manavi’, Shankarabarnam, Adi, Ponniah Pillai) that dealt with sringara was one of the highpoints of the recital. The lovelorn nayika came alive through the dancer's delicate and restrained manner - one Kapitha mudra was enough for him to convey the message of femininity. While Prof. Chandrasekhar's quaint gestures in the sahitya portions and the unhurried approach conjured up images of the times past, he introduced some interesting sancharis as well.
In the anu pallavi, ‘Vinaraa Sri Tanjapurini Velayo…’, Prof. Chandrasekhar painted vivid pictures of the countryside and the temple, including the architectural wonder of the shadow of the temple vimana not falling on the ground. Young girls learning dance on a bed of grains was another special image.
As the veteran artist navigated through the back-to-back theermanams, some traditional Pandanallur and some his own, one was struck by how the dancer's tall, athletic frame underlined the beauty of geometry. There was no drama in the slow unravelling of the varnam, the arudis were without fuss and the theermanams were short and crisp. The varnam was enjoyable but the Papanasam Sivan kriti, ‘Kaana Kankodi Vendum’ (Khambodi, Adi) describing the procession of Lord Kapaleeswara and the ‘Adhikara Nandi Sevai’ was the jewel in the crown. The depth and the simplicity with which this scene was built brick by brick, brought immediacy to the vivid images of the majestic deity and the ardent devotee. When the dancer sat down lost in that sight, one was struck by the poignancy and beauty of the moment.
Prof. Chandrasekhar's delineation carried so much conviction also because it was backed by such beautiful, soulful music. Jyothismathi with her young, innocent voice brought great depth to the compositions. She was amply supported by Bhavani Prasad (veena), Muthu (flute) and Lakshminarayana (tambura). The accurate timing was provided by Manjari (nattuvangam) and Vijayaraghavan (mridangam). Jayadeva's Ashtapadi ‘Nindathi Chandana' (Yaman) and the dancer's Hamsanadam tillana (Khanda Triputa) were the other presentations. This can easily contend for 'most memorable' performance of the veteran.