Taking a fresh route

Revathi Ramachandran. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan  

Conscientious and painstaking, Revathi Ramachandran can serve as a poster figure for good footwork, consistent araimandi and enjoyable nritta passages. Along with some ‘original' choreographies of Guru Mangudi Dorairaj Iyer, such as the opening ‘Sri Ganapathini' (Saurashtra, Adi, Tyagaraja), ‘Sringara Lahari' (Neelambari, Lingaraj Urs) and the suddha nrittam segment, Revathi presented her own -- a 50-minute Ponniah Pillai padavarnam ‘Sami Ni Rammanave.'

Taking off at a slow pace, the Khamas raga varnam on Brihadeeshwara of Thanjavur, portrayed the nayika's pride in all His magnificence.

There was a wealth of detail in the dancer's description of Siva in three forms: Eka roopa (human form), Aneka roopa (encompassing all creation) and Aroopa (formless) that in addition represents the Vedic path of spiritual progression.

Brihadeeshwara was depicted with His golden chariot as the Tripurasamhara Murthi, as Neelakanta, as a Vishwaroopa form with the Earth as his seat (peetam), the feet in the nether world-Pathala loka and so on. It was well-researched and more important, well-integrated into the text.

Having a smart, young student-nattuvanar (Sridharani Sridharan) on board gave Revathi an edge.

The long explanation preceding the varnam was a performance on its own, as it was read out by Sridharani, and demonstrated by Revathi to sound effects created by Bhavani Prasad (veena) and M.S. Sukhi (mridangam).

The interesting sound effects apart, the wisdom of having the veena as a mainstay melodic accompaniment may be questioned.

There were periods of silence especially in the varnam when one felt the need for base melody.

Preethy Mahesh, being the excellent singer that she is, could pull off a solo job, but it was without embellishment for that duration. M.S. Sukhi (mridangam) was helpful to both nattuvanar and dancer, as he danced alongside with his nimble fingers. Revathi ended with Suddha Nrittam in different nadais, starting with the original concept of having only the mridangam and footwork resonate together and then alternately, echoing the other. This duet was joined by the nattuvanar's sollus in the latter half as the nadai segments tapered off in descending order similar to a cow's tail (Gopucha yati) concept.

The recital closed on a note of bhakti with the Phalashruti pasuram of Tiruppavai, ‘Vanga Kadal.'

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 9:09:04 PM |

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