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FIRM BASE Susheela Mehta revealed her classical roots
FIRM BASE Susheela Mehta revealed her classical roots

There's never a dull moment in Bangalore's cultural scene

Odissi dancer Sharmila Mukherjee is an important name in the cultural circles. She stole the show at Dr. H. N. Kalakshetra during the Kinkini Nrithyotsava. Her tribhanga, chowka and charis were appropriate and kept to the tenets of the Odissi dance form. Opening with a tri-khandi pranam she proceeded to present a lively pallavi with the help of swaras and solkattus (dheketas). Sharmila was graceful too. Ganesh Desai's vocal support was the added attraction.

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The 41st Aradhanotsava of Nadajyothi Sri Thyagajaraswamy Bhajana Sabha held at Sri Kanyaka Parameshwari Temple, Malleshwaram, concluded with a Hindustani vocal recital by the singer Susheela Mehta. That she is classicist and traditionalist was evident in her renditions. She began Pooriya Dhanashri in a slow tempo (vilambit ek tal) and she reached the climax in the drut teental ("Payaliya jhankar") bandishes. She packed her recital with a Meera bhajan, abhangs and a tarana in Khamach.

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The second century Tamil poet Ezhangovadigal has become immortal by his love poem "Shilappadikaram".

The tale of Kovalan and Kannagi has been a favourite subject for the dancers. The Kannada version by K. Subramanya Sastry was set to music by veteran flautist Dwaraki Krishnaswamy and was beautifully choreographed and presented by one of the popular dancer-Guru Revathi Narasimhan of Natya Nikethan at the same venue.

The dancer-disciples of Shivagami troupe led by her rose to the occasion.

The traditional and colourful costumes, meaningful stage props and lighting and forceful music accounted for the blossoming of the story.

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It is a challenging task to successfully present a Muthuswamy Dikshitar krithi in the medium of Bharatanatya. It is demanding from the structural, emotional and rhythmic points of view.

Young danseuse Jayalakshmi Jithendra, trained by Mala Shashikanth, rose to the occasion in her programme held at the JSS auditorium in airing the Kumudapriya krithi "Ardhanareeshwaram bhavaye" addressed to the Lord Shiva. Jayalakshmi captured the essence of the krithi in her movements. A good number of tandava and lasya movements including some beautiful karanas marked the number. She opened her recital with a salutation to all Devathas, Mother Earth, Ashtadikpalakas and a Ganesha Kauvuthuvam (Nata). A Tanjore Quartet's Shabda in praise of Balakrishna was neatly rendered. It was in the Bhairavi varna ("Nee sati dora") revolving around a virahothkhantitha nayika that the dancer's talents bloomed to the fullest extent. The jathis studded on to it were executed in a forceful tempo. Jayalakshmi's zeal in dealing with them was admirable. Her neat abhinaya made a Purandaradasa pada ("Aarenu maadidaro", ragamalika) endearing.

The recital was enriched by Mala Shashikanth (nattuvanga), Neela Ramanujam (vocal), Madhusudan (violin), Vivek (flute) and Chandrasekhar's (mridanga) music support from the wings.

M. SURYA PRASAD


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