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Grace belies her age

MORE THAN its undeniable virtue of correctness, Vyjayantimala Bali's Bharatanatyam astonishes the viewer in its finished stances with no trace of half extended lines in her dance. Performing at Vani Mahal auditorium under the aegis of Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha recently, the dancer began on a note of impassioned poetry based on the lines of Goda in "Ambarame Tanneer," beseeching that the doors of the Nandagopala temple open out to give her a glimpse of her loved God - the item befitting the month of Margazhi. The score in raga Latangi was set to Khandachapu talam.

The varnam in Nattakuranji, a Dandayudapani Pillai composition in the devotional vein, "Karunai nee seyya vendume idu samayam" met with a leisurely, unhurried treatment, as is the dancer's wont. The choreography visualised the dance of Siva in the Kanaka Sabha and the way the Lord overcomes obstacles planted in his path by the sages. The concluding "Saranagati Enave Unnai Adainden" saw the dancer sitting elegantly in a full muzhumandi and then rise with ease and elegance, belying her age, three score and ten. Even when older dancers at times retain movement agility in their dance, the arms and hands generally are a give away of age in their diminished grace. Strangely, in Vyjayantimala's case, the beauty of her hand movements has not lessened. The dancer's physical coverage of space is not very much. But the clean lines and full extensions of limbs give the dance a feel of space and amplitude.

The Javali in Kapi "Parulanna mata namma vaddu" wherein the nayika appeals to the indifferent lover not to get influenced by the words of other women did not bring out, in full measure, the interlaced tones of bite against the other women and the tender persuasion of the lover, the interpretation of the lyric demands. Mysore Veena Seshanna's tillana in Senjurutti ushered in the final moments of the recital. Jyotishmati Srijith's singing was a curious blend of melody dotted with the odd moments when her voice faltered, particularly in the Tillana.

Nattuvangam by Muktarasi Ravi, veena by T. Bhavaniprasad and mridangam by S. S. R. Krishna were adequate. The evening had a neat compere in Saraswati Vasudevan.


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