Rama Vaidyanathan put together her Margam presentation with imagination

Rama Vaidyanathan started on a poetic note with Mayur alarippu in misra jati triputa talam, a work of Karaikkudi Sivakumar, providing her the fractional tala points, and putting the emphasis on the jerky movements of the peacock.

Hands in Mayur hasta, impeccable postures and rhythm with sudden neck movements bringing out the image of a peacock followed by the invocation ‘Azhagiya Mayilmeedu Aadiya Muruga' made this an innovative beginning within the Margam frontiers.

Unearthing the varnam composed by Vadivelu (this is the Nattuvanar's centenary year) thanks to the research work of Manna Srinivasan, Rama set this Reetigowlai composition, addressed to Padmanabhaswamy, to a pacy tempo. If the varnam did not provide an exceptionally exiting fare, it was partly because of the lyrical composition not being outstanding either musically or in possibilities of elaboration around the sahitya (unlike many of the Thanjavur Quartet's varnams). However, the dancer wove in similes around the word ‘Prananatha', the interpretation driving home the point of the nayika's dependence on the Lord.

Sudha Raghuraman, a fine musician, wove naturally ornamented curves into the sahitya passages, which at times made the words indistinct. For instance, the very first line ‘Swami Unnaiye Naan Nambinene' could not be heard clearly.

The interpretative items came off well. Rama's mukhabhinaya has never been varied but in her bodily attitudes, and the situations created within the thematic frame, she conveyed the message. The dancer was all involvement in Papanasam Sivan's ‘Enna Tawam Seydanai Yashoda' in Kapi, the poet wondering at the kind of penance meriting Yashoda's great fortune, of being addressed as ‘Amma' by the maker of the Universe Himself. Through interaction with Leela Samson, Rama learnt and wove in a sanchari suggesting the micro within the macro, in the episodic treatment of the jealous Brahma making all the animals in the universe disappear with Krishna himself taking on all the forms. The beautiful tanam sung by Sudha, and the word ‘Yashoda' elaborated upon, provided some unique moments.

In this all-Tamil suite of items, the high point was the scene from Kamba Ramayanam, portraying Ravana, his self-esteem hitting its lowest point when, rendered weapon-less in the encounter against Rama, he is told by his valorous opponent to return to fight the next day. Unburdening the humiliation to his person before Sita, he wonders at this infatuation for her, he regarded as sweet as nectar but which had become slow poison killing him. ‘Vanjanai Enakku Naane' (I am my own enemy) he confesses. The singing and dancing in this item showing the drooped shoulders of the once mighty Ravana, was evocative.

G.S. Rajan's tillana with Ardhanari Stotram set to Megh by O.S.Arun, provided a suitable end to the recital.

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Leela VenkataramanJanuary 25, 2012