Looking beyond the hiccups, Revathy Srinivasan’s playing was marked by competence and elegance.
It could have been easily termed as a damp affair because of the continuously thinning audience, initial slips of sruti, frequently loosening of the strings that needed to be tightened and a bit of monotonous playing by the artist. Yet, if one could look beyond all these overt negative signs and listen to the veena of Revathy Srinivasan, one would find the diligence and dedication that has gone into the art.
Opening with a bright varnam such as ‘Chalamela’ in Darbar, Revathy touched Hamsadhwani (‘Pahi Pahi Bala Ganapathey’) and Pantuvarali (‘Visalakshi’) subsequently - illuminating them with fast moving kalpanaswaras.
She provided a respite with ‘Amba Neelambari’ in a slow tempo to take up Khambodi alapana. The problem with Revathy was that her alapanas were too precise and did not go beyond just touching some prime phrases. She did not expand the raga with a serene approach to develop it into its full stature. The same thing happened in her main Ragam Tanam Pallavi in Madhyamavati too; the raga expanse just lasted five minutes!
In Khambodi, it was the famous ‘Evari Mata’ and luckily, a plethora of ingenious extensions in the niraval on ‘Bakta Paraadeenuda’ were pampered by a well designed surge of swaras. One could see the full form of Revathy’s competence here. Later, she once again reiterated her potent self in the colourful tanam in Madhyamavati covering ragamalika stretches in Amruthavarshini, Sivaranjani, Sunadavinodini and Revati. The pallavi in Khanda Jati Triputa went as ‘Palinchu Kamakshi Pavani.’ The trikalam was quickly followed by niraval and swaraprasthara with considerable elegance.
Thanjavur R. Kumar on the mridangam and K.S. Rangachari on the ganjira lent their hands in the right manner without dominating.
‘Vijayambike’ in Vijayanagari and ‘Yadavaraya’ in Ragamalika were the other impressive numbers in the programme. It is still a mystery why instrumental artists are reluctant to announce the details of a kriti (before or after), to avoid ambiguity.