Dance

Convincing portrayal by Meenakshi Narayanan

Meenakshi Narayanan is an upcoming talent in the field of Bharatanatyam. Trained by ace-choreographer Narendra Kumar and subsequently by his gurus veteran artistes, Shantha and V.P. Dhananjayan, Meenakshi’s artistic lineage is special, to her credit, the high standard of adavu execution, timing and finish, endorse her grooming. She is presently a faculty member at her gurus’ Bharata Kalanjali academy.

Meenakshi was selected in the talent promotion scheme of the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Manram and her recital for Kartik Fine Arts was with their support. Her hour-long recital was nevertheless crisp and comprehensive — an invocation (‘Ganesha Vandanam,’ Gambhiranattai, Aadi, V.P. Dhananjayan), padavarnam or nrityopahaaram (‘Sakhiye inda velaiyil,’ Anandabhairavi, Aadi, Ponnayya Pillai), two abhinaya pieces (‘Vaada vaada Kanna,’ ragamalika, Rupaka tala, and ‘Naan oru vilayattu bommaiya’ Navarasakanada, Aadi, Papanasam Sivan) and a thillana or nritta angahaaram (Behag, Khanda eka, Turaiyur Rajagopala Sharma). It also helped that the Kalakshetra style is not given to frills or add-on elaborations.

The bright young dancer commenced with a prayer that was intelligently couched within nritta statements that were similarly set to music. The heroine in ‘Sakhiye’ tries to cajole her friend to carry her message of love to her beau and bring him to her soon. She compliments her slim-waisted friend to do her bidding, declaring her misery without him. Meenakshi was convincing. Her visualisation of Rajagopala’s procession reflected her depth in understanding — it was not the details of the procession, but just the expressions that went with it.

The clean lines of the jatis, the masterly rendition by Jayashree Ramanathan and the ready involvement of M.S. Sukhi (mridangam) came together beautifully. The third jati adavus combined in new ways, while the fourth was enhanced by flexible wrist work and delivery in nattuvangam and interesting fillers by the mridangist. The presentation sans arudis (except in the mukthayi swara and charanam line) may have lacked some punch, but the high level of execution obliterated any shortfalls.

While the calm singing (Vijeesh Venu) in the charana and chittaswara segments was alluring, the overall musical reach was disappointing. Durga on the violin was tuneful. Sukhi could have been less busy during the musical renditions.

The dancer was guided by Shobana Bhalchandra in the mime segments. Her portrayal of the tender Yashoda-Krishna encounter was well-done but for some unclear portions. It may be billed as a work-in-progress. The pathos in the plea to the Universal Mother to relieve the devotee of the suffering of repeated births was beautifully captured in the music and correctly delineated in the dance.

The Behag thillana was an explosive coming together of happy melody and exacting time-keeping…. Kudos to the entire team for excellent execution!


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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 5:48:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/convincing-portrayal-by-meenakshi-narayanan/article29910274.ece

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