Anand Satchidanandan, senior disciple of the Dhananjayans, presented a thematic Margam at the Nahar International School auditorium, in a dance evening hosted by Powai Fine Arts (PFA). The invocatory chant “Gnana Shaktidhara’ was followed by Anand’s entry, circling the stage with Dhoopakali, filling the air with fragrance. His shashtaang namaskar conveyed the message of absolute surrender.
The alarippu interspersed and extended with ‘Yeru Mayil Yeri,’ extolling the courage and compassion of the chivalrous Lord, set the tone for the repertoire, a combined manifestation of footwork, gestures and facial expressions. Pada Varnam ‘Senthil Mevum Deva’, (Neelambari, Adi, Lalgudi) was the main piece. Using hand movements to depict the temple gopuram and lashing sea waves, Anand visualised the Tiruchendur shrine.
The five senses were individually detailed to deduce a standpoint of ‘Sindai irangi,’ where sindai stood for the visible body. Different daily chores were shown to depict the devotee thinking of the Lord at every moment (‘Enda velaiyum’).
The ‘Maayam’ of Murugan came through convincingly with Anand containing his tall build into the shrunken structure of the old man, coaxing the sprightly Valli, flirtatious, frightening her, flexing muscles to drive away the elephant and finally charming her into a union. The rapidfire swaras leading to a crescendo call of ‘Vaa Vaa,’ was aided by compelling eye command and power packed footwork.
“Arunagirinathar was a slave of flesh who became the slave of Murugan” announced the dancer before presenting ‘Koor Vel Pazhitha.’ When all else deserts him after a life of debauchery, Arunagirinathar attempts to fall from the gopuram of Tiruvannamalai temple, only to be saved by Muruga, who etches AUM on his tongue with the cue of ‘Muthaitharu...’, the first of an incredible stream of thousands of verses, collectively known as Tiruppugazh.
The use of silence heightened by just the Tanpura sruti, rising from the seated posture to slow mridangam strokes, scampering around the stage to increased rhythm tempo, the sequenced swarams segueing into an emotive Muthaitharu, Anand ably portrayed Arunagirinathar’s evolution from disillusionment to devoutness.
Perumal Murugan’s love poem, ‘Nee Mattume En Nenjil Nirkiray’ popularised by T.M. Krishna was interpreted from the perspective of the affinity towards divinity. The celestial light that is already there within some of us and sought by some others. The piece, soulfully rendered by the vocalist in Kaapi, was embellished by veena notes.
The concluding piece, ‘Kaliyuga Varadan,’ as announced by Anand, was in reverse order explaining the manifestation of Muruga. Sarpanadai with Kavadi and Milk pot invoked Pazhani. The detailed delineation of the loveliness of the six babies, admired by Kartigai damsels and mother Parvati, before gathering him into one entity, was well brought out.
Mridangam by Prajesh Nair, consistent and compact, was at its best in this piece which seamlessly moved to Balamuralikrishna’s tillana in Brindavani, sans the sahityam. Jayalakshmi Anand, partner in real life, was on equally supportive Nattuvangam, intermittently singing the swaras while Subha Vithal was on tambura.
Vocalist Keerthana Krishnamoorthy was melodic and methodical throughout and in her element singing the viruthams. Sonorous sounds of the veena by Saipriya Vishwanathan, filling in for the delayed start of the event and in the interludes between pieces was hugely appreciated.
Variety in the choice of repertoire, intelligent choreography combined with neat presentation and involved anchoring by Anand was commendable. G. Ramakrishnan, President of PFA, Sailaja Desai and Suman Badami felicitated the artistes.