If Lalitha banked on technical virtuosity, Gaurav Mazumdar explored raga rasa in gentle stages.
The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, in association with the Kapri Art and Music organisation, presented a jugalbandi featuring M. Lalitha (violin) and Gaurav Mazumdar (sitar) accompanied by Thanjavur Kumar (mridangam), H. Prasanna (ghatam) and Sameer Chatterji (tabla). The main artistes performed a solo each, followed by the jugalbandi.Gaurav Mazumdar commenced with a brief alaap in raag Madhuvanti. The mood was contemplative. The gat (teen tal) conveyed the slightly melancholic tinge inherent in the raag and meaningful pauses punctuated the fluid movement of notes.
Contemplative moodThe madhya lay gat (ek taal) showcased nimble-fingered taans that flowed with easy precision, interspersed with passages in the tisra gait that lent contrast. The insistent rhythm of the dhrut gat (teen tal) culminated in a tautly-pitched climax that drew prolonged applause.Lalitha opened with a Hamsadhwani alapana that relied on patterning, fast fingering and technique. The Purandaradasa composition `Gajavadana Beduve' with its eduppu in the upper octave ensured a flying start accompanied by lively swaraprastara. Tyagaraja's `Teliyaleru Rama' (Dhenuka) provided a contrasting flavour, while the folksy lilt of `Brahmam Okate' (Bowli) found favour with the audience.Charukesi, a raga common to the Hindustani and Carnatic systems, was taken up for the elaboration of a ragam-tanam-pallavi. In Lalitha's hands, technique was the deciding factor in shaping the identity of the raga.Mazumdar, on the other hand, chose to downplay technical virtuosity and explore raga rasa in gentle stages. With such widely varying perceptions, there was little by way of common ground in terms of approach and interpretation. The tanam was now plaintive, now frenetic, while the pallavi set to Adi tala headed for a crescendo, the approach lined with more high-decibel formulae than finesse.The percussive exchange was sharp, with bright, catchy permutations.While the sound system and acoustics in the main hall are eminently satisfactory, it would be a welcome move on the part of the Bhavan to consider updating the seats in the auditorium. Apart from being minimally ergonomic, the seats set up a parallel sound system. A loud snap ensues when one sits down or gets up and the slightest shift in posture produces ominous creaks magnified tenfold in the silence of the hall a definite source of discomfort to the sensitive rasika.