‘Aran Aadal,’ based on Hindu philosophy, presented by Gayathri and Balagurunathan, was colourful.
At first, there was nothing, but silence. ‘Yengum Nishabdam...’ The Lord begins to dance and thus begins the process of creation. From atoms, the five elements and life forms appear. That is how the story goes according to ancient Hindu philosophy and in ‘Aran Aadal,’ Gayatri and V.Balagurunathan’s dance production, as well.
The concept of ‘Ishvara’ being the sole force behind the processes of creation, protection, dissolution, union and liberation of the universe was the essence of the work, and taken one step further, each process signified a ‘tandava.’
Based on the lyrics by Professor V.V. Subramaniam, ‘Aran Aadal’ had a straightforward approach and served the well-researched mythological stories with one-pointed focus. The ‘Tandavas’ finally scored due to the effective drama and the elegant musical score, although they were short on choreographic niceties.
The ‘Srishti Tandavam’ was the only segment that laid emphasis on creativity rather than drama. The sprouting of life forms and the evolution of man were particularly arresting as they used the dynamics of a group to add depth. More such group numbers would be welcome.
Within the narratives, some were more engrossing than others. While the story of Punithavathi (Karaikal Ammaiyar) in the ‘Ananda Tandava’ segment and the competition between Siva and Parvathi in the ‘Urdhva Tandava’ were given matter of fact treatment, the churning of the ocean and the ‘Pradosha’ or ‘Sandhya Tandava’ as well as the fight with the Daruka sages in the ‘Samhaara Tandava’ segments were wonderfully colourful and absorbing. The frieze of Siva with his trappings in the final moments of this segment to the recitation like a kauthuvam was the most memorable that evening.
The musical score by T.K.Padmanabhan had a good range of ragas that established the mood instantly. New ideas like reciting the sahitya to a particular beat and tune as in the ‘Ananda Tandava’ segment (‘Sudukaatil Aaadugindrar,’ Nadanamakriya, tisra gathi) were effective without crossing the boundaries of classicality.
Gomathi Nayakam (vocal) had his good moments but T.K.Padmanabhan’s (violin) melodic bowing and T.Sashidhar’s (flute) harmonious sound waves more than made up for the occasional lapses. Gopu Kiran (nattuvangam) was more enthusiastic than authoritative and was kept on track by the skilful Adyar Gopinath (mridangam). Special effects were provided by Parthasarathy. The talented dancers of Krishnanjali who also participated were: Vidyalakshmi Srinivasan, Sindhuja R., Shobitha B., Lavanya Rathnaswamy, Ashwini Krishnan and Jisha Raghav.