Neykkarapatti (Pallavi) Sesha Iyer occupies a prominent place among the composers of post-Tyagaraja period. He was a lakshana-lakshya vidwan and a versatile composer. There is a natural flow in his compositions. Madurai G.S. Mani rendered his Bhairavi kriti ‘Ika Nannu Brovakunna’ as the main piece. The raga alapana was all-embracing and extraordinarily musical. His entire manodharma came to play. On the violin, Mysore M. Manjunath presented an equally absorbing Bhairavi.
The niraval and swaras were at the charanam, ‘Bhava Sagaramandu.’ Bhairavi itself offers immense scope and G.S. Mani with his sonorous voice, made full use of it. The thani avartanam by K.R. Ganesh on the mridangam and K.V. Gopalakrishnan on the ganjira was precise. Ganesh’s Tisra patterns were impressive.
In fact G.S. Mani followed the long forgotten and forsaken tradition of singing the main kriti in the same raga as the varnam. This system was in vogue during earlier days. G.S. Mani had opened the sparkling concert with the ever-green Bhairavi Ata Tala varnam of Pachimiriyam Adiyappayya, who attained eternity with this just single piece!
Another raga alapana that excelled in his concert was Manirangu. Manjunath’s essay was also handsome. The rarely heard Patnam Subramania Iyer’s unique kriti ‘Naravara Raghunandana,’ in Rupaka Tala was rendered by G.S. Mani, who loves to explore unchartered terrains. Kalpanaswaras were at ‘Purushoththama.’ Similarly, the Bhadrachala Ramadasar kriti, ‘Eta Unnato’ in Nattakurinji set to Misra Chapu was a distinctive presentation.
Earlier a lovely Valachi with a melodious Hindustani touch was presented. G.S. Mani rendered his own composition, ‘Nee Pada Pankajamu Nammithi,’ a lovely piece indeed. In the Charanam, at ‘Bhamini,’ it was serenely tuneful.
Incidentally, G.S. Mani is equally versatile as a composer and his mudhra is ‘Raja Pujitha.’
Harikesanallur Muthaiah Bhagavatar’s Ritigowla kriti, ‘Sakala Sampath Pradhe,’ in Khanda Chapu was another gem that G.S. Mani offered. Tyagaraja’s ‘Meru Samana’ in Mayamalavagowla and ‘Rara Mayinti’ in Asaveri added flavour to the vibrant concert.
The concluding session was devoted to Bhajans. The Kabir Bhajan, ‘Yaadh Karo Maulaagi,’ in Misra Mand was superb. Then he offered a ragamalika Viruttam, ‘Vaidhehi Sahitham.’ The Brindavana Saranga would still be reverberating in the ears of the listeners. The Bagesri piece ‘Dharshan Dho Ghanashyam’ was the appropriate finale to the morning concert.