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Of sringara and sensitivity

VIDYA SARANYAN
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LEC-DEM Humour was a strong tool to outline the various moods of the nayika. VIDYA SARANYAN

ON FAMILIAR TURF: Vyjayantimala Bali presenting a lec-dem. PHOTO: S.S. KUMAR
ON FAMILIAR TURF: Vyjayantimala Bali presenting a lec-dem. PHOTO: S.S. KUMAR

‘A zhi Mazhai Kanna' sang Andal, invoking the blessings of Lord Vishnu for plentiful rain.

Dr. Vyjayantimala Bali's lec-dem opened with this evocative song in the ‘Tiruppavai'. Sure enough by the time the talk concluded, the city was blessed with another round of showers!

Years of experience and total commitment meant that one could ‘see' each nayika, with the differences in age, temperament and personality.

The unselfish wish to please the hero with sweet words and music, the subservient woman, the haughty one… each one was sketched with the same dexterity by Vyjayantimala.

Using humour

Sringara was handled with sensitivity. Humour was a strong tool which the dancer employed in her talk to outline the lyric. It was the revisiting of an earlier show, but the dancer presented different illustrations.

Situations in love were central to Vyjayantimala's lecdem. The ideas were in keeping with the traditional nayika bhava. While one nayika was pictured as a wise woman, another proved to be a fickle heroineVyjayantimala's tongue-in-cheek aside -- ‘The nayikas always have this problem, but how can they help it when the nayaka is unfaithful?' – evoked laughter from the audience.

The knowing expression to highlight the clever nayika, catching the hero slipping into another's house on the sly, was a lesson in subtlety. A nod of the head and the “Aha!” expression at the sighting the hero, completed the poet's visualisation in ‘Arivenayya,' Atana. Innumerable customs of indulging the nayaka were brought up in ‘Modi Jesenura' in Khamas.

It also left one wondering how the images would fit into today's life of texting and e-chat!

Anahita Ravindran, Shaktivel Muruganadam, Gayatri and Chaitanya provided admirable orchestral back up.

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