Shirisha Shashank, an energetic and emotive dancer

CHENNAI: TAMIL NADU: 09/01/2018: For Friday Page: Shirisha Shashank-Bharatanatyam at Sri Krishnagana Sabha in Chennai on Tuesday. Photo: 
V. Ganesan.

CHENNAI: TAMIL NADU: 09/01/2018: For Friday Page: Shirisha Shashank-Bharatanatyam at Sri Krishnagana Sabha in Chennai on Tuesday. Photo: V. Ganesan.   | Photo Credit: V_GANESAN

Shirisha rose to the nattuvanar’s challenge with perfect execution of jathis

Nritta was predominant in Shirisha Shashank’s Bharatanatyam performance for Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, in terms of the fiery nattuvangam (K. Balakrishnan), the jathi patterns in the varnam and thillana (Balakrishnan), and the well-practised, energetic and painstaking execution by the dancer.

The opening piece was the rhythmic Mysore Jathi. Made up of short jathis with steps resembling the alarippu, usually accompanied by a repetitive ‘ta jham ta ta jham ta jham thari’, with a prayer at the end, it was recast with stronger movements adding more nadai bedams (Adi). This was followed by the Sriranjani varnam, ‘Swami nee manam irangi’ (Adi, Papanasam Sivan, visualised by Radha Sridhar). While the third jathi ‘ta deengu’ and the charanam jathi were beautifully rhythmic to the ear, the others were made forceful by the nattuvanar’s skill and energy. The charana swaras were melodic and lively. Balakrishnan has a style of speeding up in the last avarthana to finish dramatically, which he used quite often.

Number game

Balamuralikrishna’s Behag thillana (Adi) has inbuilt rhythmic complexities, with the eduppu of the pallavi one beat after the start of the tala cycle and the start of the anupallavi and charanam on samam but ending on the pallavi eduppu (one beat later). Taking the pallavi, anupallavi and sahitya, Balakrishnan turned it into a play of numbers using the rhythm within the opening syllables of the pallavi, ‘Dru dru tom thaka dim tana,’ the 3+2+2 morphing into a jugalbandi in 7s and later as a gopucha yati in descending order of beats. The accent was on an emphatic finish every time. It felt like we were watching two performances, that of an enthusiastic dancer and an excitable nattuvanar.

Shirisha showed involvement in the emotive side as well; in the varnam, one was however puzzled with the sakhi’s optimism; before the charanam she tells the nayika that the nayaka has agreed to see her, and in the end, she sees Subramanya off for his rendezvous with a satisfied smile. The lyrics, however, offered no such optimism. In the first half, the sakhi requests him to take pity on the nayika and lists the consequences of his delay, and in the second half she describes the love-lorn nayika’s distraught state. In the last charana sahitya, the sakhi again hopelessly questions the nayaka as to whether his heart has not softened even a bit despite all attempts… How far can artistic license allow you to digress?

Regarding the other emotive pieces, ‘Indendu vachitivira’ (Suruti, misra chapu, Kshetrayya, visualised by Radha Sridhar) was convincing, while the javali, ‘Appaduruku lonaitine’ (Khamas, eka, Pattabhiramayya, visualised by Bragha Bessell) was the best of the day.

It was a good performance, buoyed by the involved participation of Shiva Prasad (mridangam) whose ‘nadham’ was wonderful to hear once he raised the pitch before the varnam. Binu V.Gopal’s tuneful voice and Rijesh’s sincere accompaniment (violin) enhanced the show.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 10:55:00 AM |

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