Jubilant, fretful, lamenting… Anita and Pritha depicted them all.
What the eye saw first were the white temple walls and doors. Next the ear picked up the music proclaiming Andal’s verses. Finally one witnessed the entry of the sisters, Anita and Prita Ratnam, into the performing space. Altogether, ‘Andal Andal’ could be enjoyed as a compendium of artistic endeavour in projecting the image of the female Vaishnavite icon.
The duration of the production was 60 minutes with seven scenes to sum up Andal’s story. Inputs from Revathy Sankkaran, K.S.R. Aniruddha, Venkatachalapthy, Sudharani Raghupathy along with direction by Harikrishnan furthered the integrity of the show.
The story began on familiar lines with the dancers progressing through some Tiruppavai songs. The buoyant note was largely due to the brisk jatis strung alongside the rendering of the verse. One particular sequence was composed with the sisters looping their hands as though in jubilant recall.
The parrot, the peacock, the rain, the clouds, the sea – all were invoked as messengers in a ragamaalika. This was another quick depiction where one could also appreciate the beauty of nature through Andal’s words and lively dancing.
Muthukuri or the foretelling with pearls in Bowli was rather a literal translation where the props played a more prominent role. Two scenes stood out for best effect in the show. Andal’s fretfulness came through in varied ways for ‘Karpooram Narumo’ in the second segment. Interpreted by Anita in different moods, this was an interesting mix of song and verbal articulation by the dancer playing upon the words ‘Sol! Aazhi Vennsange.’
The other was Pritha’s dignified representation of ‘Varanam Ayiram.’ Low-key lights, tuneful singing and astute composing boosted the dancer’s intrinsic abhinaya.
Andal’s lament through Vedic chants, extracts from Nachiar Tirumozhi tuned in Revathi was a raw spot more because of the ‘fast forward’ rush of communication of thoughts. Still, the message of the frenzied maiden reaching the end of the tether was not entirely lost.
The bridal procession and Andal’s mystical reunion represented by the dancers’ withdrawal into the temple were gracious in character. Saranya Krishnan’s singing was commendable not only for her finely tuned voice but also for the modulation. The chanting by Pradeep Chakravarthy gave a surreal touch to the production. Nattuvangam by Subhasri and percussion by N. K. Kesavan lent rhythmic strength.