Concert Ranjani and Gayatri framed their thematic concert with focus on various aspects found in the Bhagavad Gita.

AIKYA 2013 cannot be termed as a concert as advertised by Global Adjustments and Radiance, it was a musical dialogue between the siblings. Inspired by the Krishna-Arjuna conversation, mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita, on a host of theological and philosophical issues, Ranjani and Gayatri had framed their thematic presentation by effectively employing the diversity of the Indian art and culture, especially music. The event was held at The Music Academy, Chennai.

Since the basic premise was on the Gita, the programme began with ‘Yadha Yadhahi Dharmasya’ and moved on to Arunachala Kavi’s ‘Saranam Saranam’ in Sowrashtram. What was the connection? Didn’t Rama was put in a tough situation when Vibeeshana had taken refuge in him while others had conflicting views? Rama had taken the decision as the head of the entire conflicting group.

Mira Bai, a staunch devotee of Lord Krishna, got into the conflict of her free-spirited love and expression and her royal status of a queen unmindful of the strong criticism from all sides. Mira’s bhajan ‘Paga Gunguroo Re’ took off softly but touched the crescendo of Mira’s ecstasy at the end with varying style and speed of the pallavi by the Sisters drawing huge applause. Tyagaraja, the emotional composer, had to choose between his principle and self. ‘Nidhi Chala Sukhama’ spoke of his steadfast devotion to Lord Rama. Ranjani and Gayatri dealt with the divergence elaborating the pallavi sharing ‘Nidhi Chaala Sukhama’ by Ranjani and ‘Ramuni Sannidhi Seva Sukhama’ by Gayatri.

An enjoyable medley

The duo presented the second segment with slokas from Gita as exchanged between Krishna and Arjuna, a medley of raga, rhythm and melody touched on Maha Kavi Bharati’s compositions ‘Nalladhor Veenai,’ ‘Engal Muthumari’ and ‘Pagaivanukku Arulvai’ where the poet not only highlights the clashes but also presents remedies.

The final part was centred on the three pathways suggested by Gita – Karma, Gnana and Bhakti – for overcoming the conflicts. This section carried exciting abhangs, profound slokas (‘Chithananda Roopam Sivoham’), a moving Paasuram of Kulasekara Azhwar (‘Anantha Selvamum’), melodic Purandaradasa Devarnama (‘Narayana Ninne Namame’) to stimulate the human wisdom to face the divergences one has to face in life. The concluding piece was ‘Bholawa Vittala,’ the favourite of Chennai audience, who joined with their enthusiastic clapping on request from the singers.

No doubt the idea of presenting the variances of life with solution is a lofty idea; but, it is quite an unenviable task because it could neither be over simplified nor cluttered with the complexities further. The logic could be obscure and unfathomable. Ranjani and Gayatri seemed to have contemplated a lot in arriving at a perfect repertoire to drive home the theme. It was musically superior but intellectually hazy. The preceding commentaries were a tad too fast to comprehend the contents. At this stage, it is superfluous to mention that the duo vied with each other with professional élan in presenting the subtlety and nuances of the ragas whether it was Carnatic, Hindustani or semi-classical.

The supporting artists were H.N. Bhaskar (violin), Patri Satish Kumar (mridangam), Bishnu (flute), Rajesh (tabla), Aunpama (sitar), Veda (special effects) and six young voices (Raghav, Nandini, Mayur, Jwalini, Ravali, Vani). The stage also displayed a huge cut-out of a scene from the Gita with constantly changing beams of colourful lights.