The audience at the Bharat Sangeet Utsav had a chance to witness the performances of eminent artists.
There is humility about Gayathri Venkataraghavan that takes the focus away from the singer and draws one towards the music. She was one of the artists featured in Bharat Sangeet Utsav 2012, organised in Coimbatore by Carnatica. The rich timbre of her voice and the sincerity with which she sang made listening to her concert a gratifying experience. She presented Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar’s ‘Saraguna Paalimpa’ in Kedaragowla with enjoyable swarakalpanas. ‘Nenjukku Needhiyum’ by Bharatiar was full of patriotic fervour. Mysore V. Srikanth’s mellifluous violin followed her unswervingly. Thanjavur Murugabhoopathy (mridangam) and B. Sundar Kumar (ganjira) were full of life.
Rajhesh Vaidhya’s veena concert was a big hit with the youngsters but made the regular rasikas raise their brows. Skill and sound dominated and melody slipped out silently along with some of the senior rasikas. The soft and moving raga Valachi was presented in a dazzling manner with a lot of gimmicks. The sparkling mridangam and the dancing strokes on the tabla vied with the lightning and thunder outside. There were also the all time favourites such as ‘Kanda Naal Mudhalaay,’ ‘Kaatrinile Varum Geetham’ and ‘Chinnanjiru Kiliye.’ But one wonders why so much talent fails to produce pleasing music?
‘Purush’, the all-male dance programme brought together by Dr. Saraswathi of Vipanchee Dance Production, was packed with power. Abhijit Das (kuchipudi), disciple of Manju Bhargavi and Vempatti Chinna Satyam, depicted the beauty of Nature with extreme sensitivity in the course of ‘Mandooka Shabdam’ (depicting the story of Gajendra Moksham). L. Narendra Kumar (Bharatanatyam), disciple of the Dhananjayans, brought alive the fierce fury of Narasimha and His gradual return to normalcy for the song, ‘Narahariyaay Vendhaan.’
Rahul Dev (Rabindra nritya) was a livewire with his leaps and twirls and intense abhinayas. He had incorporated movements from Odissi, Bharatanatyam and Manipuri, and the result was spectacular.
His emotion-filled depiction of Rabindranath Tagore’s sweet and sorrowful song on the rain brought tears to the eyes. Keertan (Kathak) impressed with his perfect ‘chakkars’, striking postures and mastery over the laya.
P. Unnikrishnan’s concert seemed like it was meant for rasikas of serious music. He chiselled Vachaspathi with breath-taking brigas and long karvais before presenting ‘Kanta Joodumi’ by Tyagaraja. During the depiction of Kharaharapriya (‘Pakala Nilapati’), he introduced Harikhambodi, Kalyani, Thodi and Sankarabharanam through griha bedham. Kalyana Vasantham and Malayamarutham were also dealt with elaborately.
Nagai Muralidharan on the violin delighted the rasikas with brilliant raga essays and supportive repartees. Thanjavur Muruga Bhoopathi on the mridangam and Udupi Balakrishnan on the ghatam were excellent.
On the last day, Girija Hariharan presented devotional songs. The disciples of Lavanya Sankar gave a Bharatanatyam performance in the forenoon and V.K. Manimaran presented a brief but impressive concert in the evening.
Later Swami Dayananda Saraswathi awarded the titles ‘Bharatha Sangeetha Kovida’ and ‘Bharata Natya Seva Niratha’ to M. Balamurali Krishna and Dr. Saraswathi, respectively. This was followed by
Balamurali Krishna’s concert. The hall was overflowing and expectations ran high. It took a few minutes for the veteran to warm up and start his concert, but it was worth the wait. He began with, ‘Sarvam Brahma Mayam’ by Sadasiva Brahmendral. The next one was a comprehensive prayer enumerating perfect wishes, ‘Sidhim Dehi Me,’ his own composition in the raga Sidhi. He took care to include many of his popular songs. Sure enough, ‘Varuga Varuga’ (Pantuvarali), ‘Baagaayanayya’ (Chandrajyothi), ‘Saamaja Vara Gamana’ (Hindolam) and the Kuntalavarali tillana found a place in his concert. The swarakalpanas were unpredictably fresh, characteristic of the inimitable singer. The accompanists Nagai Muralidharan on the violin, Thanjavur Murugabhoopathy on the mridangam and Udupi Balakrishnan on the ghatam obviously enjoyed their roles and excelled themselves in the process.