The programmes at ‘Serene Utsav 2011,' were a neat amalgam of music, dance and drama.
The inmates of Soundaryam, Santhosham and Shenbagam, of Serene Retirement Communities, Coimbatore, organised ‘Serene Utsav 2011', featuring dance and music concerts at the open air theatre at Soundaryam.
On the first day, TAPAS Academy for Classical Fine Arts, Chennai, presented two dance dramas ‘Kannan Tiruvilaiyadal' and ‘Lava Kusa.'
Under Guru Mahalakshmi Ashwin's imaginative choreography, an alumnus of Kalakshetra, the young dancers portrayed all the important episodes in the life of young Krishna and the story of Lava and Kusa.
The artist who essayed the role of Hanuman, and the picturesque pattabishekham in Lava-Kusa episode were particularly impressive. The simple but meaningful lyrics by Ashwin Kumar Iyer, set to tune by Rangachari, helped in the neat narration of the story.
In her dance ballet, ‘Pulane Punniya Porule,' Lavanya Sankar, with her troupe of talented dancers, effectively drove home the point that the five senses are not impediments in the path of salvation, but a real help, if used sensibly.
She presented relevant episodes from the lives of saints and mythological heroes, and though the topic itself was rather sober, the sparkling jatis and a supportive orchestra enhanced the appeal.
Manasi Prasad won the listeners over with her rich, pliable voice and lively presentation.
Her tutelage under mother Tara Prasad and R.K. Padmanabha, along with the current training under Sriram Parasuram, have helped Manasi develop a style that is a combination of the traditional and the contemporary. She began with ‘Gajavadana' in Sriranjani and proceeded with Muthuswamy Dikshitar's ‘Saraswathi Vidhi Yuvati' in Hindolam.
‘Lalithe Sri Pravrudhe' in Bhairavi was a rarely-heard Tyagaraja kriti. She presented Dikshitar's ‘Bhajare Re Chitta' in Kalyani as the centre piece and rounded off her concert with popular and pleasing compositions including ‘Zala Mahar Pandarinath', a bhajan on Vittala. N.N. Ganesh Kumar's mellifluous handling of his bow and B.S. Anand's lively strokes on the mridangam added to the festive mood.
Dr. Nirmala Sundararajan and Dr. Subhashini Parthasarathy offered a rich fare of genuine Carnatic music the following day.
P.N. Krishnakumar's Mohiniyattom was full of feminine grace.
It was difficult to believe that the subtle romantic expressions, the poignant yearning for the Lord and quintessential motherhood could be so realistically portrayed by a man.
A disciple of Kalamandalam Kshemavathy, Krishnakumar effectively brought out the nayika's misery when he danced for the lovely song, ‘Krishna, Nee Enne Ariyilla' (Krishna, you did not know me). His varnam on the episode concerning Kunti and Karna was full of pathos and the audience wondered whether they should feel for Kunti who could not proudly accept her son or for Karna who was discarded by his mother at birth.
Serene Utsav justified the organisers' claim that it is a festival to celebrate the colours of age – as colourful and as fruitful as the autumn season.
Keywords: Serene Utsav 2011