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Graceful and eloquent: Priya Venkataraman.
Graceful and eloquent: Priya Venkataraman.

HARISH BAL

The hallmark of Priya Venkataraman’s style is clarity of expressions sans unwarranted mannerisms.

Priya has adapted the discipline and purity of the Kalakshetra school.

Priya Venkataraman has a style of her own. Trained under masters such as Saroja Vaidyanathan and Leela Samson, Priya has adapted the discipline and purity of the Kalakshetra School. Her style is marked by clarity of expression and does away with unwarranted mannerisms.

She began her recital in Kochi with ‘Gambheeranatya Ganapathe.’ With graceful but eloquent charis (movements and gaits) she performed the piece that described the form and grandeur of Ganesha.

The varnam ‘Mohamana’ in Bhairavi, composed by Ponnayya of Tanjore quartet, talks of the nayika’s devotion to Tyagesa of Tiruvarur.

With appropriate hand movements and facial expressions, Priya expressed the pangs of love, the chirping of the cuckoo and the various elements of nature. The jathis and swara executions were on the mark, only the abhinaya seemed a bit mechanical at certain points.

The Dasa kriti ‘Jagadodharana’ in Kapi raga highlighted the vocalist’s and dancer’s mastery over their respective fields.

Vocalist Kuldeep’s evocative and imaginative rendition of the song was complemented by Priya’s fluent portrayal. She painted a tender picture of the mother tending to child Krishna.

There were points where the abhinaya lacked precision. For instance, her different poses of holding the child varied, and sometimes the child appeared huge in her hands. Her dheera nayika was confident in the Begada padam ‘Yarukakilum bhayama.’ The nayika pays no heed to the local gossip about her and her lover. At certain points, the dancer deflected from the sthayi while portraying fear.

Spiritual fervour

‘Om nomo narayana’ in Karnaranjani charmed the audience with its spiritual fervour. As it digressed to include lines from the Narayaneeyam starting ‘Kesavadrutha,’ the divine dance ‘Rasakreeda’ came alive in fast vigorous moves. The tillana concluded the recital. The event was organised by Dharani Society, Kochi.


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