Celebration of creativity

Meenakshi Srinivasan   | Photo Credit: Hareesh N Nampoothiri

The dance segment of the annual music and dance festival organised by Soorya India as part of the ongoing Soorya Festival turned out to be a celebration of Bharatanatyam as it featured only dancers practising different styles of Bharatanatyam. The opening recital was by Meenakshi Srinivasan.

Meenakshi breathed life into the role of the protagonist in the Tanjore Quartet varnam in raga Kapi as she portrayed a heroine who finally realises that the one she is in search of is within herself. Although the crisp moves made the dance sequences attractive, the fast-paced segments felt hastened, and the usual clarity was slightly missing.

Meenakshi began her recital with Swathi Thirunal’s ‘Bhogindra sayinam’, in which she elegantly interpreted the one who reclines on the serpent-king.

The woman in the Kshetrayya padam ‘Kodi kusenayyayyo...’, is not happy with the crowing of a rooster as she intends to spend an elaborate night with her lover. The song was a light-hearted one, and Meenakshi’s take of the heroine was flawless. Krishna consoling an upset Radha in the Jayadeva ashtapadi ‘Priye charuseele...’, rendered in raga Madhukauns, transported the audience to a different mood. Verses of Subramanya Bharathi’s poetry set in a thillana composed by Rajkumar Bharathi in raga Desh was the concluding item.

Priyadarshini Govind

Priyadarshini Govind   | Photo Credit: Hareesh N Nampoothiri

Priyadarshini Govind began her performance with a traditional mallari, but instead of the margam, she presented ‘Hasita’ — highlighting the hasya rasa, or humour, through some select Rajkumar Bharathi compositions. It all focused on abhinaya with very little dance in between. The first one, ‘Siripputhan varuguthaiya’ was inspired by the film song.

The next two pieces were about Lord Shiva and his family. In the first one, Priyadarshini portrayed Parvathy watching over her two sons Ganesha and Kartikeya and the two fighting over trivial things. In the ninda sthuthi ‘Esopi halahalam’, which followed, the devotee imagines aloud that it must have been a hilarious family tiff that leads Shiva to consume poison. Although the pieces had elements for the dancer to turn into a joyful watch, it was not well-conveyed.

The next piece was based on a Vidyapati song. A sakhi curiously asks the nayika about her night with Krishna and she shares her disappointment with her friend. At this point, Krishna comes knocking at the door, but she refuses to open the door. Their ensuing conversation resembled the one between Satyabhama and Madhavi in the Kuchipudi dance-drama, Bhama Kalapam. The dancer made it an engaging watch and the novelty of it was the use of vachika. She concluded her recital with a thillana in raga Purvi.

Rama Vaidyanathan

Rama Vaidyanathan   | Photo Credit: Hareesh N Nampoothiri

Vibrant and versatile, agile and astute, Rama Vaidyanathan’s recital ticked all the right boxes, giving an experience par excellence for the viewers. After opening with ‘Skanda Murthe’ — an invocation to Lord Muruga in Chalanattai raga, she did not pause for the next number. Instead, taking up the word ‘Kumara’ as a link, she moved to ‘Samiye vara solladi’ — the popular Dandayuthapani Pillai varnam in Purvi Kalyani. The piece was brilliantly choreographed and Rama’s abhinaya of the heroine who’s desperately telling her sakhi to go and ask her lover to come, was spot on.

The next piece was based on an episode from the Kamba Ramayana, where Ravana meets Sita for one last time. Ravana knows his end is near, and as he spends his last night, he comes to realise ‘Vanchanai enakku njane’ (my real enemy is none other than myself).

Rama’s interpretation is melancholic as she portrays his state of mind. Although Ravana realises he is the one at fault, he is unable to get over his arrogance, even as death stares him in the face. The concluding piece was a vibrant ‘Namaste Rudra rupinye’ in praise of goddess Durga.

Janaki Rangarajan

Janaki Rangarajan   | Photo Credit: Hareesh N Nampoothiri

Janaki Rangarajan’s recital was sort of a roller coaster ride. She opened her performance with ‘Ardhanariswareem’, inspired by the Shakti concept of Hindu tradition. The main piece was the Tanjore Quartet varnam ‘Sarasijakshudu nivani’ in raga Kalyani. The dancer’s fascination for new moves was apparent in the choreography. However, a surfeit of those moves didn’t seem to contribute to a wholesome performance. Although the abhinaya went overboard at certain places, the heroine’s emotions were well-conveyed.

Janaki redeemed herself in the ashtapadi piece that followed, which she has perfected over the years. ‘Kuru yadu nandana’, which focussed on Radha and Krishna, had all the right ingredients to make it a soulful watch. The concluding piece was a tarana combined with an abhang by saint-poet Kanhopatra.

Shwetha Prachande

Shwetha Prachande   | Photo Credit: Hareesh N Nampoothiri

Shweta Prachande is known to bring in a lot of energy to her performance, and it was no different here. Her dancing abilities dazzled throughout, right from the opening mallari in Gambheera Natta combined with a virutham on Lord Nataraja. She then moved on to the varnam ‘Sumasayaka’, a composition of Swathi Thirunal in raga Kapi, Roopaka tala.

It was predominantly all dance, especially during the latter part of the varnam, and the heroine or her sentiments weren’t as conspicuous as one would expect. However, she compensated for it with some persuasive abhinaya in the items that were presented later on.

The heroine in the padam ‘Idai vida innum vere venuma sakshi’ wonders what else is needed for her to prove the hero’s affair with another woman, while the lady in the javali ‘Sarasamu ladedanduku’ is concerned about her lover’s lack of discretion in his advances towards her. M Balamuralikrishna’s thillana in raga Behag appended with a short poem on the goddess in raga Kurinji was the final piece.

The festival received a ‘celebrity touch’ with the inclusion of actor-dancers Lakshmi Gopalaswamy and Asha Sharath.

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Printable version | Jan 13, 2021 11:52:10 AM |

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