Endowed with a pleasing presence, Subhanjali Das acquitted herself well.
Subhanjali Sadgurudas is a dancer with good credentials. A student of Vazhuvoor Samaraj, currently disciple of gurus Vasanthalakshmi and Narasimhachari, she also holds a diploma from Kalakshetra and a master’s degree. Her presentation is extremely neat, her footwork steady and firm and she has an extremely pleasing stage presence.
Subhanjali started her performance with a slokam that listed the nine forms of bhakti as laid down by Prahlada - ‘Nava Vidha Bhakti.’ These include sravanam, kirthanam, smaranam, pada sevanam, archanam, vandanam, sakhyam, dasyam and athmanivedanam.
She then went on to perform a Sabdam, an increasingly rare item in a contemporary margam presentation. This sabdam, a composition of Vasanthalakshmi Narasimhachari’s, was in praise of goddess Meenakshi and incorporated descriptions of her birth, her conquest of many lands and her marriage to Siva. Every step in the dance was practised and therefore matched by the percussion and the cymbals.
The disadvantage in such tight choreography, of course, is that slip ups in the music are immediately noticeable. To Subhanjali’s credit, she did not allow it to faze her in the least.
Subhanjali’s high level of comfort in both nritta and abhinaya came to the fore in the Thodi varnam ‘Roopamu Joochi.’ With unflagging energy, she sailed through the (rather lengthy) theermanams with enjoyment, while her clear and graceful expressions effectively mimed the lyrics. The choreography followed a traditional padartha abhinaya pattern, where each of the words is depicted through gestures and expressions and Subhanjali’s subtle handling was very pleasing. Emotions like that of admiration mixed with awe while describing the form of Siva adorned with snakes were nicely portrayed. Subhanjali’s poses would be more effective if she held them for just a little longer.
In Jayadeva’s ‘Chandana Charchita,’ a friend was shown advising Radha to shed her anger and join Krishna as He dances with the gopis.
The programme concluded with an interestingly choreographed Dhanashree Tillana that Subhanjali performed with sprightly footwork and verve.
Being a dancer, percussionist, singer, choreographer all rolled into one, Guru Narasimhachari’s involvement was apparent in every aspect as he mouthed the jatis and tried to mould the ‘sangatis’ in the music to suit the abhinaya. While it is time for the next generation singers to take over the reins, surely they will benefit from his rich experience.
Guru Vasanthalakshmi, working closely with mridangist Guru Bharadwaj, ensured that the music and dance came together. The melody in dance performances is playing an increasingly larger role and Srinivasan on the flute and Satish on the violin added to the experience.