Dance

From the MALE perspective

C.V. Chandrashekar. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam   | Photo Credit: B_JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Normally, he thought, some amount of coaxing and cajoling would appease his miffed nayika and everything would be alright. But, it seemed not so this time. The things he says only makes her angrier. Has she grown wiser than to fall for his tactics?

Pattabhi Ramayya had put a pen to these thoughts when he wrote the javali ‘Taru Maru lade vemay’ from the point of view of the dhrishta nayaka who is guilty of hurting his beloved. The nayaka thinks he can console her, only to be given the cold shoulder. Recently, Bengaluru-based Bharatanatyam dancer Praveen Kumar presented this composition at the 8th Nartaka Festival conducted by Natyanjali Trust and portrayed the complex psyche of this nayaka through his abhinaya.

There is little doubt that Praveen is a fine dancer. Apart from the clean lines and sound footwork, it is the subtlety of expression that stood out in this recital. In the javali, especially, Praveen charmingly navigated the intricate emotions of guilt, anger, mirth and indistinct desperation. He managed to portray the nayaka’s ego, flirtations and finally, his resignation to fate. Praveen succeeded in striking a balance between externalising the nayaka’s thoughts and portraying his reactions as and when he is turned down by his nayika.

Praveen began the evening with a Ganapati vandana, ‘Gayiye Ganapati Jaga Vandana’ ( Kalavati, Adi). Here, he oscillated between the representation of the majestic elephant god and his humble devotee. In aspects of nritta, simple gestures like lifting and placing his feet, a near-perfect natyarambhe and his ability to traverse the space of the stage were a delight to watch. The concluding jati was fabulous.

The varnam in Nattakurinji, ‘Swami Naan Undan Adimai,’ was rendered well. The opening korvai showed Praveen’s grounding as a dancer and his training from his gurus Narmada and Prof. C.V. Chandrashekar. The varnam gave him the opportunity to showcase both nritta and abhinaya.

After the javali, Praveen brought in yet another innovation to the Devarnama ‘Maneyolagado Govinda’ where he portrayed vatsalya bhava from the point of view of the father instead of the mother. After being reprimanded by the neighbours, Krishna’s father coaxes his son to play inside and not create trouble in the neighbourhood. He tries to make the little boy stay inside the house by offering some freshly made butter and jewels. Praveen used subtle gestures to portray Krishna’s father. For instance, he ties the belt around little Krishna’s waist but it is too tight. He loosens it and the father-son duo have a good laugh about it. The father’s dilemma between showcasing his affection for his child and being stern – all at the same time came through in this composition.

Justin McCarthy

A student of Subbaraya Pillai, Justin McCarthy has strong foundations in the Pandanallur bani. He began with an alaripu that was crisp and neat. ‘Swamiyai Azhaithu’, the Khamas varnam that followed was shaky at first but was rendered well later, especially in the second half. In fact, McCarthy’s rendition of the varnam brought out the beauty of the raga. This was followed by ‘Paiyada Paimeda’, a padam in Nadanamakriya, which was mostly performed seated. A treatise on abhinaya, this piece was a testament to the years of training that has gone behind shaping McCarthy as an artist. He then performed ‘Vagaladi’, a javali in Behag and concluded his recital with a thillana in Mandari. It was the thillana that brought out the finest in McCarthy’s dancing: the ease with which he performed the ushi adavu and the neat footwork.

McCarthy was accompanied by a talented ensemble of artists. Sudha Raghuraman on the vocals was exceptional. The opening alapana of Khamas, her version of Nadanamakriya and finally the Behag were all individually fascinating. G. Raghuraman on the flute was equally enterprising. R. Sriganesh on the mridangam and Lokesh Bharadwaj on the nattuvangam were both enchanting.

Prof. C.V. Chandrashekar

His dance has always been a testament to the meritable tutelage he has received and his ability to translate that training into his recitals. However, on the final day of the Nartaka festival, when Prof. C.V. Chandrashekar danced, apart from his training, it was the performer in him that predominated. His ability as a dancer to guide the ensemble accompanying him, his stage presence, stamina and finally, his versatility held the audience’s attention till the very end.

Almost at the end of every kita thaka dhari kita thom, the audience was compelled to put their hands together to salute CVC’s dancing. K. Hariprasad began the recital with a reverberating version of ‘Mahaganapatim.’

CVC began with ‘Sri Ganapatini Sevimparare’ in Saurashtram which was a simple, yet fascinating invocation. This was followed by ‘Nadanai Azhaithu vaa sakhiye’, a varnam in Khambodi. Persistent requests to the sakhi and the subsequent anticipation were beautifully rendered in his abhinaya. The second half of the varnam was equally, if not more, engaging with the veteran striking a fine balance between nritta and abhinaya. At one point, Jaya Chandrashekhar, who was on the nattuvangam, faltered a bit. CVC repeated the jati vocalising the sollu kattu and making it right. The varnam was his statement as a performer.

He concluded the recital with excerpts from Kumara Gurupara in which he portrayed Karthikeya’s pranks as a child. Rendered both from the point of view of the child as well as his parents, this was an abhinaya-centric piece. In terms of just the music too, this ragamalika was charming.

Praising the child’s ornaments, the sound of his bells, his tiresome pranks and ultimately the genius of divinity were all translated into refined expressions.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 12:43:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/from-the-male-perspective/article6570711.ece

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