In Meenakshi’s ‘Krishna Thrayam’ smoothness took precedence over complications.
Is there anything new to be said about Krishna, through prose, poetry or dance, for that matter? Not really. But the story of the Lord is so glorious, captivating and blemishless that it can stand any number of repetitions.
Meenakshi Chitharanjan’s ‘Krishna Thrayam’ was one such. The same, oft-seen incidents were so seamlessly interwoven to present three aspects of Krishna – Irresistible charmer, intense lover and the infinite Lord. The unfolding was streamlined and transparent, so that His magnificence could shine through the lyrics of masters, limned lightly by the dancer.
Meenakshi took up ‘Gopala Pahimamanisam’ (Revagupti/misra chapu/Swati Tirunal), ‘Bala Sarasamurali’ (Kiravani/Adi/Oothukadu) to parade the magic child. A medley of Jayadeva’s ashtapadis, ‘Kathitha Samaye,’ ‘Yahi Madhava,’ ‘Priye Charusheela’ and ‘Kuru Yadhunandhana’ (Maund, Kapi, Sivaranjani, Desh and Yaman) pastelled his deeds as a Dakshina Nayaka, set against the steadfast devotion of Radha. The culmination of this joyous paean was again a consortium of slokas from the Bhagavad Gita, tuned by the late mridangam maestro Pandanallur Srinivasa Pillai.
What was Meenakshi’s contribution to these familiar facets of Krishna? Delightful and soothing nritta of the Pandanallur (Subbaraya Pillai) style. The jatis by nattuvanar Pandanallur Pandian were not a divertissement but a punctuation of the saga being told. Saktivel’s mridangam, Kalai Arasan’s violin, formed the smooth backdrop against which the Krishna Katha could sparkle and scintillate.
Meenakshi’s costume was not in Krishna’s ‘Peethambaram’ but in the colours that bring to mind a peacock’s throat, the Iridescence of violet, blue and green. And that of Krishna’s plume.
Her abhinaya was suggestive, whether depicting a childish prank, a dexterous ploy of a lover caught ‘out,’ or the philosophy taught to Arjuna in a dilemma. In one place between the ‘Priye Charusheela’ and ‘Kuru Yadhunandhana’ she could have shown the consummation of the lovers. Her nritta was an example of the Subbaraya Pillai’s style, smoothness taking precedence over complications. She conveyed, not only the kaleidoscope of the characters’ emotions, but also the joy of dance that is centred around Krishna.
Gomathi Nayakam’s singing, mostly mellow as the circumstance warranted, served the emotions well. The ensemble, in sound and silence, apparently understood the need of the dancer. A wonderful evening of dance at Bharat Kalachar.