The Pollachi Tamizhisai Sangam’s festival saw interesting concepts interpreted through Bharatanatyam.

Innovation came face to face with tradition at the 28 dance festival organised by the Pollachi Tamizhisai Sangam.

The dance ballet, ‘Aalaavadhu Eppadiyo?,’ was a fine blend of aesthetics and creativity. Choreographed by Lakshmi Ramaswamy of Sri Mudralaya, the inspiration for this production lay in a Tamil quatrain by Pattinathar who wonders how he will ever be able to serve the Lord when he cannot be like ardent Siva devotees, Siruthondar, Tiruneelakantar or Kannappar.

Dr. S. Raghuraman’s songs enlivened by Rajkumar Bharathi’s music, lent substance and strength to the ballet which saw three generations of dancers (Lakshmi Ramaswamy, her disciples and their disciples) come together on stage.

The programme began with a lively group dance. The moving episode of Siruthondar was enacted with feeling. If the dancers impressed as doting parents, they also dazzled as staunch devotees. When devotion demanded the sacrifice of their son, they complied without a murmur.

In the second episode, the Lord brings Tiruneelakantar’s decades-long vow of celibacy to an end and ordains him to lead a happy life with his wife. When the old couple bathe in the river and get up, they are no longer old.

In the third episode, Purnima Sriraman as Kannappan stole the show with her expressive face and lively movements. The transformation of the naïve Kannappan into a devotee was admirable. A sprinkling of humour added to the overall effect. Lakshmi Ramaswamy as Siva added dignity and charm to all the three episodes.

Mature approach

Having honed her skills under Hemavathi and Leelavathi of Kalamandalam, Jhansi Sanu was a picture of grace and maturity. Her sanchari for ‘Durge, Durge, Jaya Jaya Durge’ portraying the episode of Abhirami Bhattar, was packed with details and devotion. ‘Sakhiye, Inda Jaalam Ennadi’ in Sankarabharanam was wholesome with sensitive abhinaya and brisk footwork. Her student, the young Manasi K. Menon performed the nattuvangam effectively. The orchestra comprised Anil Kumar (vocal support), Sajeev (mridangam) and Sivaramakrishnan (violin).

Padmini Radhakrishnan of Mumbai-based Soundarya Natya Kalalaya, presented ‘Siva Shakti Rasaanubhavam’ on the concluding day. The dancers began with a fine piece of music interspersed with jathis, propitiating the Guru. It was followed by the spirited ‘Shakti Koothu’ of Bharatiar.

The main piece depicted the Navarasas or the nine emotions through episodes from the legends of Siva and Shakti. Each rasa was introduced through a Sanskrit shloka.

The Markhandeya episode was enacted very well for karuna rasa, but it could not bring out the actual nature of the rasa as there was more of power than pathos in the depiction. ‘Mahishasura Mardhini’ for veera rasa was impressive. Mubeena looked lovely in her pink costume and her face mirrored the various emotions effectively.

‘Ardhanareeswara Stotram’ was delightful to watch as the two dancers who donned the roles of Siva and Shakti were in perfect synchrony. They concluded appropriately with Siva Sadaakshara thillana.

Mridangam by Sathish Kumar and violin by Ram Prasad complemented the vocals and nattuvangam by Padmini Radhakrishnan. Though the programme started quite late and went on almost till 10 in the night, her resonant voice and the committed performance of her team kept the spectators glued to their seats.