V. Deepika put her sweet voice, that is instantly appealing, to good use.
V. Deepika sounds and sings so much like her guru vidushi Sudha Ragunathan; yet has a strong hint of originality. This was the general refrain among the audiences at that concert. Never mind that similar comparisons are often occasioned in relation to young talent. Never mind also the real merit behind such inferences in every single instance. Suffice it to say, your reviewer concurs with the view, inasmuch as a scribe’s subjective opinions are valid any more than those of lay listeners.
Deepika starts with a huge advantage – a melodious voice that is instantly appealing. But she has evidently built on this natural gift right from her childhood with tenacious hard work. Her three accompanists, each equally competent in his own right, aided her effort superbly all the way.
Her delivery of compositions demonstrated a uniform blend of simple elegance, considerable skill and perfect timing. She managed to pack five items well within an hour and without for a moment appearing to be rushed.
The opening varnam in Abhogi and three compositions of Tyagaraja thereafter were pleasing to the ears regardless of whether you were acquainted with this genre of music. On the other hand, the songs in Sahana, Pantuvarali and Kannada would have struck the connoisseur for their unpretentious and discreet use of technique. ‘Vandanamu Raghunandana,’ ‘Naaradamuni Vedalina Sugunaa’ and ‘Ninnaada’ respectively, were sung in a manner as if to emphasise that music could well be an elevating experience even without excessive reliance upon gamakas and sangatis.
Then came the extended alapana in Madhyamavathi, followed by Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Saravanabhava Guhane’ with an improvisation in the finish… it was an absolute beauty.
The percussion solo of Sai Giridhar on the mridangam and Nerkunam Sankar on the ganjira bore strong evidence of the nimble fingers of mature artists at work. Except that the two are probably in their 20s if not younger. S.P. Ananthapadmanabha on the violin revealed his true mettle in his solo essays of Pantuvarali and Madhyamavathi.
It was time now for director K. Balachandar to felicitate the main artist, whose abilities as a child he had tapped and exposed through his films. The melodies that followed bore an obvious connection to M.L. Vasanthakumarri. The vintage song ‘Andimayangudadi, Aasaiperugudadi’ from the film ‘Parthiban Kanavu’ and Subramanya Bharathi’s ‘Paayum Oli’ to which she had given voice. The latter composition was tuned by Charumathi Ramachandran in a ragamalika of Khamas, Kalyanavasantham, Amrithavarshini and Sindhubhairavi.