Two teenaged sisters travelled from the USA to display their prowess.
Ramya and Anjali are US-based Bharatanatyam artistes. The teenagers were drawn to this art when they were five and four years’ old, respectively. Vishal Ramani is their guru. She took with her the Tanjore tradition of the Pillai trio. The subject they chose for their performance at Ravindra Bharati was the interpretation of Annamayya kirtanas into Abhinaya with some Jati spells here and there.
The opening number, however, was that of Oothukadu Venkata Subba Iyer’s composition on Ganesha. Oothukadu’s compositions in general suitthe dances so well that each of these compositions are packed with swara and rhythmic syllables perfectly suiting the dance form. This number set the sisters, Ramya and Anjali, on a positive note. The rest were Annamacharya numbers that many are familiar with. Nallani Meni, set in Kalyani ragam, is a description of the beauty of Lord Venkateswara. It depicted a sequence of how He recovered Vedas from the ocean appearing as Kurmavataram. The sisters stuck to the abhinaya part of the drama well. While the kirtana, Alamelumanga, also set in Kalyani, spoke of the divine couple, the popular Narayana Te Namo Namo in Behag, spoke of the original form of Venkateswara, that is Narayana or Mahavishnu, who is said to have descended to earth, according to Sthala Purana, and taken the form of Lord Venkateswara, making the earth itself as Kaliyuga Vaikuntham. This was also presented by them.
Okaparikokapari Vayyaramu, rendered in Kharaharapriya, yielded space for the dancers to come out with the depiction of Dasavataras, with sisters changing into characters striking apt postures. The childhood deeds of Krishna are then depicted by them while presenting the popular composition of Annamayya, Muddugare Yasoda, rendered in raga Kuranji. The child Krishna is compared with the Navaratnas (nine gems). This was a beautiful song. Alarulu Kuriyaga, set in Sankarabharanam, depicted the awesome looks of Alamelumanga, and Brahma Mokkate, a Bowli raga kirtana with a folk touch, presented by the sister duo delineated the philosophic intent of the theme. The dance session concluded with a Balamurali Tillana in Kuntalavarali.
The sisters put their best effort to project the thematic substance and also displayed technical prowess. They should strive hard to develop more flexibility in their bends and foot movements.G.S.