Kali Veerapathiran, who had won the Music Academy’s ‘Spirit of Youth’ award a few years ago, lived up to expectations at his performance at the 2023 Dance Festival. He began with an Alarippu in tisra jathi eka tala. Right from the natyarambam stance, his footwork was noteworthy for its precision and clarity.
For the varnam, Kali chose to explore ‘Omkara pranava’, a Shanmukhapriya raga composition by M. Balamuralikrishna. He visualised the power and reverberation of the sound that resides in all matter in the universe. The Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva narratives were incorporated in a seamless manner without unnecessary dramatisation. The jathis were danced with great vigour, but the twirls did not make an impact.
Looking at Khanditha nayika from a male perspective, Kali took up for abhinaya the padam ‘Senchinavanan’, from the ashtanayakan concept, developed by his guru Nirmala Nagarajan. The hero’s anger at the heroine’s feigned indifference was depicted through an interesting sanchari — the destruction of a portrait by splashing paint on it. Kali danced with conviction, but, somehow, the concept of a male perspective in this padam seemed contrived. The Ashtapadi ‘Priye charusheele’ gave ample scope for portraying varied shades of love between Radha and Krishna, and Kali’s expressions were captivating. He concluded his recital with an impressive thillana.