Sujatha Srinivasan had it all going for her that day
Bharatanatyam exponent Sujatha Srinivasan reaffirms the fact that success follows where inherent talent is backed by sincere effort and a determination to excel. These qualities along with the impeccable training she received from guru Swamimalai Rajaratnam have resulted in her scaling the heights of success. Sujatha relocated after her marriage and was away for a while, but has returned with more confidence. Her recent performance for Brahma Gana Sabha threw light on the positive impact of this relocation. Away from the competitive milieu and oblivious of the changes taking place in the sphere of dance, she has maintained the classical idiom of her guru’s style intact.
The shloka ‘Shantakaram’ was a literal delineation of the lines with simple yet beautiful bhava, before bringing the Lord before our eyes in the Annamacharya kriti ‘Paramapurusha’ in Shanmukhapriya.
The classic Rupaka tala Thodi varnam, ‘Dhanike Dhagujanara,’ which extols the greatness of the nayaka, Shivaji Maharaj, chosen as the centrepiece, saw the dancer painting a portrait of the moon faced, lotus eyed, regal patron of the arts with superior intellect, vividly. The beauty of the jathi korvais, adding just the necessary rhythmic relief to the sahitya, was heightened with the clear, vibrant footwork and graceful movements.
Abhinaya was as much a forte of Sujatha as was her nritta. There were many memorable moments… the sancharis showing the nayika adorning herself by looking into the mirror and then holding another mirror behind to cross-check her ornamentation; her standing alone and pining for her lord with just the movement of her head and a glance, and the evocative bhakthi bhava shown in the rendering of the Kannappar story.
An excerpt from Arunachala Kavi’s Rama Natakam, the song ‘Eppadi Manam Thunindado’ was a moving rendering with subtle expressions communicating the feelings of Sita when Rama speaks to her about going to the forest leaving her behind. The mood was maintained throughout by the artist. The Meera bhajan, ‘Baso Morey Nainanme’ in Behag, which followed, highlighted the intense love of Meerabai for Krishna; it was an equally poignant portrayal and the depiction of the peacock stretching its tail from which one feather is plucked to adorn Krishna’s hair, the lines ‘Moramukuta’, was a masterstroke of expression.
The dancer had the added advantage of an attractive stage presence and the red-orange coloured costume suited her traditional style. Sriya Srinivasan’s voice was not in its element that day, but her rendition of Thodi had the necessary azhutham and brought out the grandeur of the raga, revealing her innate musical talent. A little more focus on infusing melody into her rendering will enhance her music. Swamimalai Suresh wielded the cymbals with his characteristic efficiency accompanied by Satish Kumar on the violin and Ramesh Babu on the mridangam .