One of the high points of the Music Academy Dance Festival was the recital by young Praveen Kumar of Bangalore. The uncluttered simplicity and immaculate Bharatanatyam was in the style of his Guru Prof. C.V.Chandrasekhar.
Beginning with ‘Parthasarathy'- a Muthuswamy Dikshitar kriti in Suddha Dhanyasi- that visualised aspects of Krishna as the legendary charioteer leading Arjuna to victory after treating him to a glimpse of his Viswarupa; as the gallant rescuer of Rukmini and as the charmer of the Gopis, Praveen went on to the piece de resistance, the varnam in Abhogi - Prof Chandrasekhar's creation particularly tailored for the male dancer.
One of the rare varnams conceived round the traditional sringara motif, dealing with the male perspective showcasing the Nayaka and not nayaki's plaint, ‘Ennai Marandanalo Ninaittu Ninaittu Urugum,' the lyric with musical statements expressing the nayaka in anguished ‘viraha', had taut theermanam interludes and rose to a perfect climax in the charanam -- where the pangs of unrequited love were exacerbated by desire kindled by Manmatha's assault with flowered darts, ‘Kama Banangal.'
With D.S. Srivatsa providing bhava-filled, tuneful singing, and Guru C.V.Chandrasekhar providing the nattuvangam led with Srihari Rangaswami on the mridangam and Kalaiarasan on the violin, Praveen's masterly rendition made it one of the finest presentations of the festival. One wonders why more male dancers have not come forward to learn this varnam. Purandara Dasa's ‘Baro Krishnaiyya' with exquisite lilt in the singing and Praveen's highly involved rendition preceded the finale which was another fine Chandrasekhar composition (score and movement choreography) of a thillana in Keeravani.