The Radha-Krishna segment from Gita Govindam by Gayatri and Balagurunathan underlined the dancer’s maturity and sensitivity.
The up-and-coming dancing couple, Gayathri and Balagurunathan, are alumni of Kalakshetra. Gayathri herself is well-known, as the daughter of the illustrious Krishnaveni Lakshmanan, former principal, Kalaksetra, and star-dancer for many years, but as a dancing duo, they are still on the ascent. Their strength is the impeccable coordination and their combined poses never failed to impress.
Their Bharatanatyam performance was in two parts: the first presented the concept of duality with Siva and Vishnu in ‘Hariyum Haranum’ that ended with an M.D.Ramanathan kriti, ‘Hariyum Haranum onre’ (Atana) and the second was a dance-drama based on Jayadeva’s Gita Govindam, ‘Radhe Krishna.’
It was the music that held sway in the first part- it was possibly one of Radha Badri’s finest performances. Equally melodic was senior musician T.K. Padmanabhan (violin) who gave the singer a bedrock of strong melody, while T. Sashidhar (flute) provided wonderful layering
in between. The visualisation was pleasant and straightforward. While the treatment was alright for once, it became repetitive with kritis presented back-to-back. The other kritis presented were: ‘Nadamadum’ (Purvikalyani, Gopalakrishna Bharati) and ‘Chandra Chooda’ (ragamalika, Purandaradasa) that was preceded by the Siva Sahasranama charanam, ‘Vande Shambum.’
Redemption for the dancers came in the last 40 minutes of the show, which was an exquisite ragamalika presentation of the sequence of events between Radha and Krishna in the Gita Govindam. The tenderness between the lovers, Radha’s despair, Krishna’s repentance, Radha’s anger, Krishna’s supplication and their reunion were detailed with sophisticated delicacy. The slow transition of moods, especially Radha’s anger, as it cooled in stages until she succumbs to her lover’s declaration of love, underlined the dancers’ maturity and sensitivity.
The music was again evocative, tuned by T.K. Padmanabhan but for ‘Mamiyam’ that was tuned in Ahir Bhairav by Professor C.V. Chandrasekhar.
K.P. Ramesh Babu (percussion) and Neela Sukanya (nattuvangam) were the expert time-keepers. Laxminarayan (tambura) provided the sruti.