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RANJANI GOVIND
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Event A Bharatnatya set to Dikshitar kritis will be performed today as a tribute to the saint composer

In stepSathyanarayana Rajuphoto: Murali kumar k.
In stepSathyanarayana Rajuphoto: Murali kumar k.

Muthuswamy Dikshitar kritis for Bharatanatya? This is what is on offer this evening at Diksha, a tribute to the saint-composer. Conceptualised and co-ordinated by Usha R.K. the event is at 6.30 p.m. at Bangalore Gayana Samaja.

For those used to listening to Dikshitar kritis on Carnatic platforms, this is what scholar A. Sadasivam, has to say: “People should know that the Tanjore Quartet, the four brothers who lived during the early 19th Century, contributed to the development of Bharatanatya and learnt Carnatic music under Dikshitar. They even composed ‘Navaratnamala’ in appreciation of the bard. While the brothers, employed in the courts of the Maratha King Serfoji II at Thanjavur, also authored a number of tana varnas and kritis, their dance works were heavily influenced with the style of Dikshitar who himself composed a Todi varna ‘Roopamu Joochi’ that is taken up by dancers quite often. The saint’s compositions, with an influence from the English bands, brought in madhyamakala rhythmic phrases, jathiswaras and nottuswaras that inherently makes it adaptable to the dance stage.”

Sadasivam, grandson of Ananthakrishna Iyer who learnt under Ambi Dikshitar, explains that 18th Century dancers had often taken up Dikshitar’s kritis for their performances, but somewhere down the line the thread got discontinued. “The revival is the best thing to happen for dance,” he says.

Renowned dancers Sathyanarayana Raju, Poornima Ashok and Soundarya Srivatsa, apart from others would be performing. While Sathyanarayana would be taking up the kriti, ‘Sri Vishwanatham,’ Poornima would be handling the popular kriti ‘Srirangapuravihaara’ in Brindavana saranga. “I will describe the stala puraana of the Srirangam Lord who reclines facing the South of India towards Sri Lanka. The off-beat start of some Dikshitar kritis and the swaras brought in to enhance the sahitya were interesting points for my choreography to the masterpiece.”

Soundarya, who is taking up ‘Akhilandeshwari’ in Jujavanti says, “Who says vilambakala kritis will not hold the audiences attention? It gives room for excellent abhinaya, the description of the procession where one conceptualizes Goddess Parvati in all her grandeur will also bring in intermittent jathis; and swaras that actually trace the sahitya lines in two speeds, at the two charanas.”

RANJANI GOVIND

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