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A fest for connoisseurs

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Mahishasura Samharam A scene from ‘Saankari’.
Mahishasura Samharam A scene from ‘Saankari’.

A. RAMALINGA SASTRY

‘Mahishasura Samharam’ and vocal concerts marked the five-day festival at Ukkunagaram.

A five-day festival of dance and music organised last week by Sruthi, a cultural body of Visakha Steel Plant Township, at Kendriya Vidyalaya auditorium, Ukkunagaram, witnessed memorable dance and music performances.

Presentation of Kuchipudi ballet Saankari (Mahishasura Samharam), expertly choreographed and directed by noted exponent of the tradition, A.B. Balakondala Rao, marked the inaugural evening. Students of her Kuchipudi Kalakshetram enacted it. Her senior disciple Amukta Malyada Anand lived the role of Parvathi executing footwork with split-second precision and lithe grace in body movements besides empathetic abhinaya.

Peri Srirama Murty on the violin with the support of another violinist Peri Tyagaraju, V.V.Ramana Murty on mridangam and S. Hanumantha Rao on ghatam, regaled listeners all the way on the next evening. Expansive expatiation of Chakkani Rajamargam (Kharaharapriya) and the scholarly thani that followed were the highlights.

Similar expatiation of Mamava Meenakshi of Dikshithar (Varali) and the thani by M. Sridhar on mridangam and Hanumantha Rao on ghatam marked the veena recital by R. Madhuri Devi on the third day.

The piece-de-resistance, however, was the Asheeti (which means 80 in Sanskrit) Raga Tarangini composed and presented by Madhuri. She chose chaturasra nada for the first 50, trisra, misra and khanda for 10 each next (upto 60, 70 and 80) respectively. The entire exercise of playing the Asheeti Raga Tarangini sans any lyrics took 20-odd minutes. Playing of each raga was limited to two cycles of ekataalam. The 80 ragas were played in groups of 10 each. A gap was given for mridangam to conclude with a Mukthayee or Theermaanam after playing each group.

The vocal rendition by 11-year old boy Devulapalli Lakshmi Prachothan (Hyderabad) in the company of local artiste M. Sriramya on violin and K. Aravind of Vijayawada on mridangam, both of the same age group (all first prize winners at the competitions held earlier by Sruthi) on the penultimate day was well appreciated by listeners. They were talented and displayed it like professionals, much to the delight of the listeners. Padma Bhushan Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan gave away prizes to all winners of the competitions held in various music events by Sruthi.

Seshagopalan’s scholarly and substantive exposition of all nuances, niceties and intricacies of carnatic vocal starting with the rendering of a varnam in Nayaki till he concluded with an Ashtapadi, proved to be a splendid finale for the festival.

Both M. Srinivasa Narasimha Mruty on violin and veteran mardangika Mullapudi Srirama Murty displayed evolving scholarly splendour. Explicative expatiation of Nagumomu (Abheri) with hues of grahabhedam in aalapana and exposition of Mutthai Bhagavatar’s composition Giripriya in Kadanakuthoohalam were the pieces-de-resistance.


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