Aranyani Bhargav’s nritta was extremely neat and well-executed.
Unmindful of the delay, the poor sound system, the overdone stage decor and the unfriendly carpeted floor at the Trinity Arts Festival of India (convenor- Murali Raghavan), dancer Aranyani Bhargav, former disciple of veteran Bharatanatyam artist Leela Samson, showed spirit in her performance.
Having trained in the classical, contemporary and ballet styles, Aranyani’s physicality is well honed. Her energy, flexibility and neat adavus bear testimony to the training of the body. Embellishing the long-limbed vivacity are her dancing eyes that follow every movement, creating a pretty picture.
Draped tastefully a la Leela, in a maroon and orange Bharatanatyam costume, there was a sense of déjà-vu as Aranyani has also imbibed her guru’s stylish body language. Where Aranyani is not polished is in the expressive aspect. Her expressions per se are good, maybe refined further, but the wiring of ideas comes across as a series of dashes rather than one smooth circuit.
In a surprising sequence of presentations, Aranyani presented a Vasakasajjika nayika, one who is preparing for the arrival of her loved one, in the Muvaloor Sabhapati Iyer padam, ‘Darejoochu chunnadi’ (Sankarabaranam, misra chapu), right after the opening misra Alarippu. The friend coaxes the hero to go to the young heroine who anxiously awaits him. The switches in roles, between the friend and the young heroine, and this happened quite a few times during the course of the padam, were not always very clear.
The heroine yearning for Brihadeeshwara in the ragamalika pada varnam, ‘Sami Ninne Korinaanura’ (Rupaka, Ponniah Pillai) was presented with due respect to her tapam but without melodrama. Metaphors such as the dependence of the lotus on the sun to bloom and others were used to bring out the depth of love or dependence. Some of it looks tutored, and Aranyani will do well to infuse some of her own sensitivity into it.
The two-line wonder ‘Sariga Kongu’ (javali- Suratti, Adi, Ghanam Krishna Iyer) however had the best visualisation that evening. The older sakhi imitates the younger girl stealing glances at Krishna in the pallavi and warns her of Krishna’s philandering in the charanam. Sharp and racy, such pieces can make all the difference to the reputation of an artist.
Aranyani’s nritta is so neat and well-executed, it merits only superlatives. She finished with a leisurely thillana, a rarity, choreographed by Leela. It was a Madhuvanti thillana in Adi tala, composed by maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman. We look forward to much more from Aranyani.