Harikatha forms a conglomerate presentation of different disciplines of artistic creativity. In an arty blend of literary, musical and dance elements, it is possible for only gifted Bhagavatars to relate the chosen narrative in an entrancing way. One such is Vizianagaram-based Bhagavatarini Kalla Nirmala. Her insightful exposition of Rukmini Kalyanam held the audience captive for hours on the precincts of Sri Krishna Ashram, Visakhapatnam.
True, Bhagavatars do usually have a good grasp of classical music and render it as an auxiliary prop to sustain the interest in the narrative. But doing it with the aura of a classical concert is surely exceptional and this performance belonged to such rare category. With a perfect grip over the syntax of classical music, the way she presented the ragas Mohana, Begada, Multan, Malayamarutham, Bhagesri, Sivaranjani and Mand was simply superb. Though these ragas were employed in the process of the narration, the varied shades of raga bhava enriched its emotional appeal. Her gamaka laden alapanas, though brief, have accentuated mood of the verse or song in no small measure. Almost every time she sought to go musical, she elicited warm response. Punctuated with lively one-liners, chuckle-raisers, parables and literary anecdotes, her taut exposition of the narrative remained classy all through.
She narrated it true to the script of Harikatha Pitamaha Adibhatla Narayana Dasu. She revelled in elucidation of the poetic craft of Adibhatla and went on to highlight the felicity in his turn of phrase. Particularly her exposition of Rukmini’s childhood and adolescence in its exquisite details of grace and grandeur endeared it well. Episodes such as Rukmini’s message to Lord Krishna to wed her, her emissary and court priest Agnidhyotana’s surreptitious mission, Lord Krishna’s arrival at Vidarbha and taking away Rukmini…. all found alluring expression.
Satyanarayana on mridangam lent good support. Sri Vijaya Thyagaraja Sangeetha Sabha hosted the event as part of the centenary celebration of Namburi Ramanamma and Ranga Rao.