It was memorable journey for the rasikas of Coimbatore.
Rajalakshmi Fine Arts, Coimbatore, honoured siblings Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi with the title, ‘Isai Mani Makutam,’ on the penultimate day of its September Season. Dedicating the title to his late guru and father, Lalgudi Jayaraman, Krishnan acknowledged the fact that every swara that comes out of the siblings’ violins was taught by their father. An emotional Vijayalakshmi elaborated on how their father introduced music to them.
This was followed by the duo’s violin concert. They began with a varnam in Hamsavinodhini by their guru. Compositions of the three gems followed one after the other — Tyagaraja (‘Eti Yochanalu,’Kiranavali), Dikshitar (‘Cheta Sri Balakrishnam’Dwijavanti) and Syama Sastri (‘Shankari Shankuru’ Saveri). Vijayalakshmi (Abhogi) and Krishnan (Khambodi) ushered in the ragas deftly.
As torch-bearers of the Lalgudi bani, they laid stress on the raga bhava. During the entire September season, Khambodi took centre stage only on that day. When they called out to Lord Ranganatha so lovingly with Tyagaraja’s ‘O Rangasayee,’ He would have surely responded. There was a brief RTP too, in Kosalam with the pallavi, ‘Velavaa, Undhan Mel Avaa Konden’ in khanda triputa talam. They included ‘Varuvaaro Varam Tharuvaaro’ and ‘Kaliyuga Varadhan’ towards the end.
Srimushnam Raja Rao showcased his mastery in mridangam and Tiruchi Krishnan on the ghatam met all his challenges with ease.
K. Gayathri, disciple of Suguna Purushothaman, has a pleasing stage presence and a rich and pliant voice. She has imbibed her guru’s penchant for clarity of diction and her alapanas, niravals and swarakalpanas were impressive. ‘Maamava Karunaya’ by Swati Tirunal in Shanmukhapriya and ‘Saraguna Paalimpa’ in Kedaragowla by Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar deserve special mention. Ambika Prasad on the violin and Kallidaikurichi Sivakumar on the mridangam gave their excellent support.
Nithyasree Mahadevan drew the largest crowd, comprising quite a few youngsters. She took some time to get into form, though. ‘Sasivadhana Bhakta Janaavana’ and ‘Paalisamma Mudhu Shaaradhe’ were quite pleasant. ‘Parama Paavana Raama’ (Purvikalyani- Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar), being the centre piece, was presented with due ornamentation. The strain in her voice was noticeable when she sang elaborate niravals and swarakalpanas. Her viruthams and light songs — ‘Mayil Meedhu Viraindhodi Vaa,’ ‘Thamboori Meetidava’ and ‘Sri Paadham Sevithu’ — were delightful. B.V. Raghavendra Rao on the violin was a pillar of support and lifted the concert. Poongulam Subramanyam on the mridangam and Udupi Shridhar on the ghatam were at their best.
During her five-day discourse on ‘Aranya Kandam,’ Jaya Srinivasan offered a different perspective to the epics. She did not tell the story chronologically. She explained the beauty and the deep meaning hidden in the episodes. Usually, Maareecha and Ravana are treated as the demons who troubled Sita. But Jaya’s explanation was that they were actually devotees of Vishnu and were indulging in such heinous activities in order to be emancipated from this birth.
She stressed on the efficacy of karma. Sita suffered because she uttered cruel words to Lakshmana. The epic proves that even if one is a goddess, she has to suffer for her sins.
Her discourse was replete with such insightful explanations and her deep learning of Valmiki, Kamban, Tulsidas, Bharatiar, Azhwars and Nayanmars added power to her discourses.