Good music aided the presentation of Jayanthi Subrmaniam and group.
‘Bhaja Govindam’ was a joyous celebration of Krishna through classical dance by senior dancer Jayanthi Subhramaniam and her students. The vigorous training that the group had gone through at Kaladarsana, dance school run by Jayanthi was evident in the high calibre Bharatanatyam that boasted of graceful and fast movements along with clear cut communication of thought. The show was presented at The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
Jayanthi's knowledge of Sanskrit and the variety of Tamil, Kannada and Telugu lyrics added weight to the thematic production. A big point in favour of the dancing was the consistently good music, provided by talented artists such as O.S. Arun, Sitarama Sharma Hariprasad and Padma Seshadri sisters.
The essence of ‘Venkatesa Karavalambam’ was conveyed in the first piece - a group number. The idea of Lord Venkatesa being the ultimate refuge of the suffering devotee was enlarged upon with ragas Hindolam, Kaapi, etc., adding to the enjoyment. The white costumes of the group was set off by colourful jewellery and tasteful head dress while Jayanthi Subhramaniam's blue and green saree dovetailed with the theme and emphasised her solo depictions.
Select stanzas from Divya Prabhandam conveyed the charming picture of birth of Krishna. Periazhwar's ‘Vannamadangal Soozh’ alternated solo and group formats where Jayanthi donned the role of Yasoda and the students those of the gopikas. Her essay of the enraptured and harassed mother sketched in chaste Tamil found echoes even in the present day.
The incorrigible child who gave the slip to one and all was succinctly conveyed in the Kannada lyric ‘Chikkavane Evanu,’ a Purandara Dasa kriti . Rich visuals in the poetry of Narayana Tirtha dramatised the story of Govardhana Girdhara. Here ,the tisram nadai for the entry and the folk dance by the kin of Brindavan lent a festive air - an idea elaborated in Jayadeva's Ashtapadi also.
The raasalila of Krishna with the Gopis was depicted with shades from Bhajana Sampradaya. This was an ingenous blend of lively steps where kolattam was used to heighten the mood of ecstasy. However this briskness got pulled down by the slow pace for the abhinaya depiction for ‘Rase Haririha.’
A dignified portrayal of Panchali's heartfelt gratitude to Krishna was to be found next with a Surdas Bhajan. Jayanthi's interpretation concentrated upon Draupadi's emotional outpouring without going into the familiar storyline and evoked a sombre chord. Dasavataram translated as a vivacious dance drama in miniature form. This piece would have benefited from better slotting as the programme content for the second slot of the evening was already stretched too long. Nevertheless the fervent mood of the slokas ‘Punarapi Jananam’ and the coordinated efforts of dancers Ashwini, Sumitra Subhramaniam, Srividya, Sridevi, Sowmitri, Anagha, Aishwarya, Anupama and Komal with Jayanthi reinforced the divine purpose of Krishna avatar.