Nandini Ramani and Sushama Ranganathan based their recital on old world appeal.
Veteran Nandini Ramani’s recital was marked by an innate elegance that sprang from the philosophy of insightful interpretations enabled by the classical arts. A prime disciple of Balasaraswati and nattuvannar K. Ganesan of the same lineage, the senior artist’s approach was one that gracefully aligned bhava and laya. She was accompanied by her daughter-disciple Sushama Ranganathan.
Whether in the Alarippu in Khandam or the focal padavarnam, ‘Atimoham Kondaen’ in Sankarabaranam, this co-existence of the two aspects was reinforced with rhythmic enunciation and corresponding singing of the lyrics. In times of a preference for linear dynamism, this old school performance was congenial for the accent on embellished visuals. The nayika waiting for the arrival of the beloved did not rely only on mukhabhinaya but also added elements such as the bend of the body, the wavy lines of the décor on the door which were then summed up with the relevant emotion and action as one unified idea.
Similarly in the Tanjore Quartet varnam, the praise of the patron Ramalingendran was presented as a composite of his prowess, compassion and love for the fine arts against the setting of the architectural beauty of the temple town. The highlight here was the unhurried development of ideas in interpretive mode. Concise jatis and poignant metaphors for the first half of the varnam were delineated by Nandini while brisk dancing by Sushama conveyed a snapshot of images of the lovelorn nayika for the second part.
Where ‘Velavare’ in Bhairavi came forth as a striking narrative of the beauty of the young friend and her true love for the valorous Lord Muruga, ‘Samayade Ra Ra’ in Behag was a peppy javali where the married heroine invites the beloved with subtle empathy, both songs being performed by the senior artist. Sushama’s discerning treatment of the kriti in Kedaram, ‘Ananda Natana Prakasam’ (composed by Nandini), underscored her familiarity with the text. Thillana in Kaapi concluded the recital on a positive note.
K. Ramiah led the orchestral team with nattuvangam together with Venkatakrishnan, Chitrambari and Balaji’s singing, Venkatasubhramaniam on the mridangam, Ramani on the veena and Ramana on the flute.
The recital was part of The Indo Britain festival organised by Shree Bharatha Natiyalaya run by Malathi Dominic in association with Tamilnadu Iyal Isai Nataka Manram. Two artists Sivasakthi, a veena exponent, and Balachander, a mridangam exponent from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, the U. K., were honoured on the inaugural day of the festival.