Margazhi Festival

Focus on the Feminine

Meenakshi Srinivasan Photo: R. Ravindran

Meenakshi Srinivasan Photo: R. Ravindran   | Photo Credit: R RAVINDRAN

The measure of an accomplished artist can be gauged from the cumulative influence of the performance - is the recital one which merely sparkles superficially or one that enriches the rasikas’ experience? In this regard, Meenakshi Srinivasan’s performance was not just delightful but distinctive for the astute engagement of intellect and creativity. A student of the eminent Alarmel Valli, Meenakshi who is also a qualified architect, has made a mark with her elegant Bharatanatyam presentations both in India and abroad.



Meenakshi adhered to the traditional format while simultaneously exploring the different facets of the feminine sentiment. She highlighted the pining heroine of the classics, the bold outlook that symbolises today’s woman and her enduring compassion in her delineation of the different lyrics.



The power of Sakthi, the vitality of Lakshmi and the awakening of knowledge by the blessing of Saraswati were rendered in Subramania Bharati’s ‘Mata Parasakti.’ The lovelorn damsel beseeching her friend to fetch her divine lord was the crux of the Dandayudhapani Pillai varnam ‘Swamiyai Azhaithodi Vaa.’ Sringara rasa found pride of place in the composition where the married lady invited her paramour for ‘Samayamide Ra Ra.’ The sweetness of Krishna’s love was the focus of the passionate Jayadeva Ashtapadi ‘Sakhi Hey.’



Meenakshi’s abhinaya comes across as fundamentally subtle whilst emphasising the high notes of emotion. There is an organised method in the way she delineates the different moods. Her eyes capture the fiery intensity which reaches out to the audience. This was most apparent in the sensuous moments of Radha’s tryst with Krishna in the bower taken step by step until the denouement which was shown with panache. The touch of humour and the careful timing by Meenakshi made the Behag piece composed by abhinaya expert Bragha Bessel, a pleasure to watch.



The aspect of bhakti was a faithful accompaniment in the Varnam, where an unusual story was portrayed briefly but colourfully centred on the phrase ‘Sarangapani Potrum.’ Here the dancer depicted the legend of Vishnu offering an eye in the absence of a flower, in order to complete his worship of Siva.



Graceful body lines, rhythmic precision, energy and araimandi were the outstanding features of the nritta segments. In this recital, moving and covering space dominated the visualisation of the jatis in the varnam. There is no doubt that it thrills to see an agile dancer like Meenakshi slide fluidly across the performing space but deploying a higher proportion of adavus as intact visual structures might yield better results.



The orchestral team comprising Hariprasad’s singing of the various ragas in the invocation and varnam, augmented by Sreelakshmi’s violin essays and Vedakrishnan’s discreet mridangam play, tied together by Jaishree Ramanathan’s efficient nattuvangam, was an asset to the performance. Meenakshi concluded with a Thillana in Desh.



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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 10:26:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/chennai-margazhi-season/meenakshi-srinivasan-focus-on-the-feminine/article6745015.ece

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