Lalithaa KrishnanVeena Bonala Sankara Prakash exhibited his excellence in the elaboration of ragas.
Bonala Sankara Prakash's commitment to excellence was evident in his elaboration of three ragas – Hamir Kalyani, Bhairavi and Purvikalyani in his veena recital for this sabha.
Unfurling on a reflective note and building on the vibrant atmospherics generated by the interplay of the two madhyamas with the panchama, the Hamirkalyani essay drew its soul as much from lovely, smooth glides (jarus) as from vadi-samvadi studded, crisp janta swara phrasing and a concluding meditative mandra sthayi spell that dove deep into the innerscape. Subbaraya Sastri's ‘Venkatasaila' was a fine melodic portrait. The stand-alone Tyagaraja kriti ‘Tanavari Tanamu' (Begada) brimmed with verve.
Rich, fruity sancharas redolent with the fragrance of Bhairavi anchored the alapana. With clarity and fluidity being the hallmarks of the madhyamakala prayogas that packed the madhya sthayi, this suite resonated with deep, weighty gamakas. Rapid passages – sharp, swift and sure, were largely reserved for the final phase. It was a broad overview of Bhairavi with emphasis on the panchama suite, an apt prelude to Syama Sastri's magnum opus, the ‘Kamakshi' swarajati rendered in two speeds. In his solo turn, violinist V.L. Kumar added appreciable touches in unhurried passages at the madhyama and gamakas at the nishada. Drawn into the vortex of this nonpareil composition, one is instantly attuned to the artist's depth of internalisation.
Purvikalyani raga stood out for the ‘kuzhaivu' in phrasing. A plaintive prati madhyama made for an interesting point of contrast in the madhya sthayi, complementing the characteristic unadorned gandhara. Limited edition virtuoso flashes left sizzling tracks, promptly smoothed over by swaying, essence-laden sancharas that ensured non-dilution of content. From the vantage point of the tara sthayi gandhara, creative flights swooped over the pulsing resonance of the mandra sthayi, the serenity of the madhya sthayi and the delicacy of the tara sthayi. Pressed for time, the vainika had to hurry through the grand edifice of Muthuswami Dikshitar's ‘Meenakshi Me Mudam Dehi' with a few telling rounds of niraval and kalpanaswara that nevertheless managed to pack in tisra and khanda variations.
Bonala Sankara Prakash plays from the heart. There is considerable sadhana and internalising here that veers towards the meaningful and steers clear of formula fare. An enhanced degree of sensitivity is required of percussionists when accompanying the veena, and this was displayed in full measure by R. Ramesh (mridangam) and Guruprasad (ghatam) who showcased their talent for subtlety.