Though the overdone arudis and araimandi marred the sheen of dignity, there were unusual pieces deftly executed by Janaki Rangarajan.
Janaki Rangarajan, a disciple of Padma Subrahmanyam who is on her own, has evolved an eclectic style of Bharatanrityam. Added to the basic grammar of Bharatanatyam are karanas from her guru's research, geometry from perhaps the Kalakshetra influence and an efficient and no-nonsense approach all her own. The resulting style is a unique statement that Janaki makes with confidence.
There is however a caveat here. The confidence sometimes overdone, translated into certain unflattering mannerisms- the over-acting and affectation in the arudis in the varnam (‘Roopamu Joochi,' Thodi, Adi, composed by Tiruvarur Muthuswami Nattuvanar as a tana varnam and modified into a pada varnam by Tiger Varadachariar) and the overdone ‘araimandi' stance that went way beyond the aesthetic standard and took away from the merit of the presentations.
With the support from musical stalwarts in the orchestra, Janaki's recital was full of energy. The pieces were well-rehearsed and impressive, but it was in the padam ‘Thottu Thottu Pesa Varan' (Behag, Periasami Thooran) that her maturity came through in its full glory. A young heroine is embarrassed by Krishna's advances and complains that there is no one to rein in his wanton behaviour. The heroine does an about turn towards the end of the song, when she admits to having a soft spot for him. The transition from an indignant girl to a coy maiden was sensitively portrayed.
The other padam, ‘Netrandhi Nerattile' (Husseini, Subbarama Iyer) about a heroine who questions her man, Subramanya, about the woman he was with the previous day, was also a dignified portrayal. The two songs drew the best of the melodists. The varnam on the other hand did not have the sheen of dignity, marred as it was by Janaki's overdone arudis and araimandi and ill-timed thattu-mettu sequences. The opening Chokkanathar Kavuthuvam (Ghanapanchaka ragas, misra chapu, Gangai Muthu Nattuvanar) and the closing Hamsanandi tillana (Adi, Padma Subrahmanyam, Subramanya Bharati poetry in sahitya) were unusual choices, deftly executed.
The supporting stalwarts were: K. Hariprasad (vocal), Kandadevi S. Vijayaraghavan (violin), Jayashree Ramanathan (nattuvangam) and Vedakrishnaram (mridangam).