Gesticulations supplement music and are common, but some are funny — such as Seshachary’s. Sometimes he makes you wonder if you are being delivered a ball, right arm over the wicket. But all the same, it is nice to see the enthusiastic Andhra-ite lose himself in his music, though with the aid of swinging arms. It is a good occasion to reflect on the impact of abhinaya on music — exhibitionist or otherwise.
The Malayamarutham piece (Tyagaraja’s ‘Manasa Etulo’), both in the alapana and the lovely swaras, indicate that gambolling limbs might indeed nourish music. But then, they did nothing of that kind to the other two principal elements of the concert—Subhapanthuvarali (‘Sri Sathyanaranayanam’, Dikshitar) and Pallavi Sesha Iyer’s Bhairavi piece, ‘Nee Nannu Brovara.’ That these two were sub-satisfactory points to the uselessness of egregious body movements to achieve an impact on music. So, no verdict, court adjourned.
Seshachary, the apparently domineering of the duo, did produce a fine Subhapanthuvarali alapana, building up the raga slowly, note by note. If such a nice alapana still failed to thrill, the blame lies in the exasperating loud thump-thump that rent the air each time someone passed through the door — which was, unfortunately, often. Seshachary bleached his own music white by singing in a low voice. On the overall, the Subhapanthuvarali that began with a promise and was not lacking in inventive merit, failed to impress.
To make matters worse, the Hyderabad Brothers chose too fast a gait to render such a slow-by-design composition as ‘Sri Sathyanarayanam.’ They also missed the upper-swaras sangati at ‘Kaliyuga Prasannam.’
To turn to the Bhairavi, it was a good alapana again, begun by Seshachary and taken over by Raghavachary. Raghavachary, who had hitherto out-classed his companion in swara singing, produced a charming Bhairavi. The selection of the rare kriti, ‘Nee Nannu Brovara,’ deserves to be lauded.
Nagai Sriram on the violin, Harikumar on the mridangam and G. Ravichandran on the ghatam accompanied the singers. It was dismaying to see Seshachary cut short the thani after two rounds of the korvai. Apparently, he had been told to keep the concert short.
Even as the tail pieces were going on, people started walking into the hall for the next programme, a Vishaka Hari discourse, and there was pandemonium. Dr. Natarajan, the sabha secretary, has a lot to set right.