With no raga alapana, Mala Mohan’s Mukhari kriti sparkled.
A vibrant voice, good raga gnanam, powerful expository method and fine interpretative technique ensured for Mala Mohan a professionally successful Bahula Panchami concert for Sri Thyagaraja Seva Samiti in association with Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha.
Mala Mohan strictly adhered to classicism and not diverted by spasmodic sentiments. She revealed deep involvement in presenting Ritigowla (‘Raga Ratna Malikache’) and later Varali (‘Eti Janma Itiha’). They were wide in coverage with not one sign of cheapness. The style of presentation apart, the smooth flow of sancharas, and the twists and turns drew the attention of the listeners.
Precise and crisp
The Ritigowla vinyasa was engraved with sharpness, precision and crispness. The sharing between the vocalist and the violinist, Usha Rajagopalan, marked the raga’s intensity. This item and the Varali delineation later left one with a feeling of musical satisfaction.
The raga imagery of Varali was graphic creating the swarupa with telling effect. The kirtana was compactly sound, simple but suggestively elevating with dignity and propriety.
Besides these two ragas and songs, the monumental piece in the programme was ‘Kaaru Baaru Seyu Vaaru’ in Mukhari, which without raga alapana, sparkled with regal flavour. ‘Bala Kanakamaya’ (Atana), ‘Ninne Bhajan’ (Nattai) and ‘Duduku Gala’ (Gowla, Pancharatna kriti) were prettily rendered kritis.
While the songs had much to contribute to the overall impressiveness of the recital, they would have gained in stature if Mala Mohan had visualised the influence of sahitya emotion.
With many favourable factors, if Mala Mohan wishes to reach a higher aesthetic level she has to pay attention to softening the tonal expression and gentleness in the articulation of the words in the songs. In alapanas, she has to understand the value of gana-naya, proper spacing between sancharas and above all, felicitous tara sthayi negotiations. Sound conservation and not sound dispersal holds the key to delicacy and charm in the top octave.
Usha Rajagopalan added her share to the standard of the concert. A rasika could discern the rapport between the vocalist and the mridangam player Mannarkoil J. Balaji.