Radhika Ramanujan's Bharatanatya recital was testimony to admirable technical prowess and artistry; veteran R.K. Padmanabha presented a wide ambit of his talent

The MES Kalavedi, Bangalore, presented a Bharathanatya recital by Radhika Ramanujan recently as part of the Ratnamma Kadambi Endowment Programme.

The performance commenced with a mallari in khanda thriputa thala, composed by Srihari, and an invocatory piece beginning ‘Ikshudandadhara’, set to Vitapi raga and adi thala. The artiste came into her own with an outstanding exposition of the varna beginning ’Sarasangana’ in Vagadheeswari raga and adi thala, a composition of Mahesh Swami in Kannada. An impeccable sense of laya coalesced with clarity and precision of movement in the narration of the nayika’s plight and pangs of separation from her lord, represented through challenging and imaginative choreography.

The lotus eyed beauty of Rama was evoked in the Tulasidas bhajan ‘Sriramachandra Kripalu Bhaja Mana’ in Puryadhanashri raga and misra chapu thala, which also recounted familiar anecdotes such as the Sita Swayamvara and Sabari’s devotion. The mischievous pranks of Krishna, as enacted in the interpretation of Purandaradasa’s ‘Chikkavane Ivanu’ in ragamalika and adi thala, were in direct contrast to the serene bhakthi that pervaded the previous item. The concluding numbers of the recital were the padam ‘Netrandi Nerathile’ in Huseni raga and rupaka thala and a thillana in Madhuvanthi. The recital was testimony to admirable technical prowess and artistry, though greater focus on abhinaya in some pieces would have balanced the artiste’s considerable emotive skills more effectively with the brilliance of the pure dance component. Exemplary orchestral support was provided by D.S.Srivatsa (vocal), Harini Srikanth (nattuvangam), Srihari (mridanga) and Narasimha Murthy (flute).

Senior vocalist R.K. Padmanabha performed under the auspices of the Malleswaram Sangeetha Sabha last weekend, accompanied by Nalina Mohan (violin), C.Cheluvaraju (mridanga), and M.A.Krishnamurthy (ghata).

The concert commenced on a note of sedate grandeur with a superb rendering of the Shyama Shastri swarajathi ‘Kamakshi’ in Bhairavi raga and mishra chapu thala, in a vilamba kala commensurate with the structure of the composition, to which the succeeding ‘Rama Nannu Brovara’ in Harikamboji, suffixed with plentiful kalpana swaras, provided a perfect foil. Mysore Vasudevacharya’s ‘Mamavathu Sreesaraswathi’ in Hindolam, and Thyagaraja’s ‘Sasivadana’ in Chandrajyothi, embellished with a few kalpana swaras, followed in quick succession.

An exhaustive alapana of Manirang raga was next, featuring prolonged meditative forays into the mandra sthayi, elongated pauses at each swara of the scale and multiple sancharas around it, with the artiste occasionally weaving the syllables ‘Sri Rama’ into the exercise. ‘Mamava Pattabhirama’, the Deekshithar krithi in mishra chapu thala, incorporated an absorbing neraval at ‘Manirangavalyalankritha Navarathna Mantape’, and a cascade of kalpana swaras landing at different points of the sahithya. A swift ‘Devadi Deva’ in Sunadavinodini, and ‘Jnanamo Sagarada’ in Purvikalyani prefaced the main raga of the evening, Shankarabharanam.

The mellifluous alapana, which traversed the three octaves with reposeful halts at crucial junctures, was followed by a vibrant thana, and a pallavi beginning ‘Elanee Dayaradu’ set to khanda jathi jhampa thala presented in a variety of rhythmic variations, and kalpana swaras that included, among others, avarthanas in Natta, Hamsanandi, Anandabhairavi, and Nayaki, with excellent support from the accompanying artistes.