SOLO Priya Murle's ahinaya was eloquent. LEELA VENKATARAMAN

P riya Murle's Bharatanatyam recital for the Academy's dance festival had worth of scholarship and substance. Not light-footed, her dance, sans gimmicks or prettifying, was supported by an excellent team of musicians led by the exquisite vocal support of Nandini Anand.

Sasirekha Balasubramaniam, a fellow student of Shree Bharatalaya, provided the most spirited, tonally variegated and rhythmically taut nattuvangam. Dhananjayan on the mridangam, Vijayaraghavan's violin and Sashidhar's flute completed the team with instrumental accompaniment.

Great abhinaya

The Swarajati, 'E Mandhayaanaraa' in Huseini visualises the nayika tauntingly and yet with hopes of winning him back addressing the strayed lover, asks as to how her Lord, could fall into the trap of that wily woman who has ensnared him. “I have loved only you,” she says and yet you ignore my calls. This attitude as well as the changed mood in the charanam came off tellingly in Priya's abhinaya with the taut brilliance of the teermanams of Kittappa Pillai, tue guru of her guru Sudharani Raghupathi.

After a convincing rendition of the Suratti padam, “Samayam ithu allavo,” with the nayika trying to ward off the advances of the impetuous lover to a more suitable time of the day, the best of the dancer was reserved for the item from ‘Kuchelopakhyanam.' Kuchela's diffidence with his extremely humble background, about meeting the Lord of Dwaraka, his reminiscing on the joyous days of shared childhood games, and the final rousing reunion of King and commoner friend were rendered in a way that brought tears to the viewer's eyes. This was abhinaya at its best.

The Thanjavur Quartet's Kapi Talamalika Thillana ushered in the closing moments of the recital.