Shriya Srinivasan seems to have inherited her passion for Bharatanatyam from her mother, senior dancer-teacher Sujatha Srinivasan, who is also her guru. Her grace, timing and azhutham suggest rigorous training and preparation.
Shriya’s performance was a musical treat, replete with melodious compositions presented by stalwarts — K. Hariprasad (vocal), Kalaiarasan (violin) and T. Sashidhar (flute). Opening with the Kuntalavarali invocatory piece ‘Bhogindra Sayeenam’ (Jhampa tala, Swati Tirunal), she moved on to the unusual tana varnam in Behag, ‘Vanajaksha’ (Adi, T.R. Subramaniam), followed by the Bhairavi Ramanatakam song, ‘Yaro ivar yaro’ (Adi, Arunachala Kavi) and then the Pantuvarali padam ‘Netru varen’ (Adi, Subaramaiyer). She concluded with the Niroshta thillana (Adi, T.N. Seshagopalan).
Sujatha, who was on the nattuvangam, presented the ‘Sashankha’ shloka before ‘Bhogindra’, which was layered with a jathi in khandam and thattu mettu sequences to keep it lively. Shriya was a storehouse of energy and handled all that came her way with ease.
The varnam’s trikala jathi had the usual ingredients of speed, tisra and usi segments, yet the choreographer (Sujatha) added more. One wonders how the nattuvanars of yore arrived at a perfect combination. The second was an old Vazhuvoor favourite, ‘Thadikku dingu’ followed by one in khandam. They were enjoyable. Sujatha’s nattuvangam was deft, though her sollu delivery was unclear. Was it the mike or the voice?
Short sancharis highlighted the lyrics. Rukmini’s runaway marriage to Krishna was one — it was interesting to see how Sujatha used the sarpa nadai as Rukmini walked to the temple before being carried away by Krishna. Another notable one was for the phrase, ‘Swami Sri Venugopala’ when the dancer described how the animals stopped in their tracks when they heard Krishna’s flute. The conclusion, with many friezes of Krishna, proved her versatility and agility.
Shriya is fairly expressive, though her roleplay of Rama in ‘Yaro’ could have been sharper, as there already was some confusion whether the speaker was Rama or Sita.
In ‘Netru’, Shriya used the alapadma, ardhachandra and alapadma mudras in succession, with an arm stretched out. Sujatha later explained that she was denoting the passage of time – from a full moon and a crescent moon to a full moon, to convey that the nayaka had not shown up.
The sprightly thillana ‘Tanana dhirana’ proved Shriya’s energy. It spurred mridangist Ramesh Babu to add his own dramatic fillers for the mei adavus and a few others.