Pt. Birju Maharaj and Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam will perform together on July 7 for a fund-raiser
“We are the ‘music-makers’,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,…
A breath of our inspiration
Is the life of each generation;”
-A.W. E. O’Shaughnessy
Two titans from the field of natyam to meet. It will be erroneous to call it jugal bandi. Bandi, yes, in the bonding they share by way of mutual admiration for their respective art and each other. They will not attempt fusion but maintain the individuality of Bharatanatyam and Kathak. It is not a ‘Clash of The Titans’ or ‘Star Wars’! But when two masters meet on a platform, it’s magical because they transcend barriers. It is the merging of the artist with the art.
Pt. Birju Maharaj and Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam come together for the first time at the initiation of Y. Prabhu, secretary of Krishna Gana Sabha, to perform on July 7, 6.05 p.m. at Narada Gana Sabha. The programme, titled ‘Natya Shikarangal,’ aims to raise funds for the Krishna Gana Sabha infrastructure and Bharata- Ilango Foundation for Asian Culture.
Their styles are diverse but there’s a lot of commonality between the two. Apart from their birth date ( February 4), they share the same energy, devotion and passion for their art. Both come from a lineage steeped in the arts.
If Padma revelled in the versatility of Sivaji Ganesan, who was able to portray the nine emotions (navarasa) with ease, Birju Maharaj was enthralled by Kamal Haasan. Though he choreographed the dance sequences, the ‘Vishwaroopam’ that stays on in public memory is the élan with which Kamal was able to imbibe Birju Maharaj.
The coming together of these two Shikarangals is special because it will be a visual treat, not rehearsed or choreographed earlier. It promises the spontaneity that two supremely confident artists, who love the art, can perform with ease.
A pre-planned choreographed piece will be perfect perhaps, but to move onto a higher plane, you need to dare yourself. It will be totally different if empty canvases took over, and almost magically, on an inspirational graph, the artists burst forth suddenly with the element of surprise. And this spontaneous expression of manodharma is what true rasanubhava is all about!
The show will probably begin with each artist establishing the individuality of their respective styles and slowly move on to respond to one another, which is when one can expect the magic to unfold. Both are masters of laya, with a deep-rooted musical knowledge, both are competent, versatile singers, and share a love for Krishna. They are also masters of the navarasas, adept at communicating and reaching out to the rasikas with remarkable ease – truly an adventurous evening to look forward to.
“When life becomes an adventure, a dance of ecstasy, then only you do you move beyond the confinement of the body and the mind and soar higher towards the infinite”. – Osho.