Dance

The king was captivated and…

Meenakshi Chitharanjan her guru Subbaraya Pillai.  

Here’s an interesting story… Bharatanatyam Guru Meenakshisundaram Pillai, the Pandanallur propitiator, was to be honoured for his amazing choreographies by the Raja of Ramnad, Shanmukha Rajeswara Sethupati. For the occasion, the guru thought it fit to present a special piece in praise of the raja, and so choreographed a varnam in Vachaspati, which was presented by his disciple, Pandanallur Jayalakshmi. While the Raja was impressed with the dance, he was even more impressed with the dancer. And, they were married. What’s more, dancer Jayalakshmi, 87 now, lives in Chennai!

Narrating this, Bharatanatyam dancer Meenakshi Chitharanjan said she will present that rare varnam as a solo in a programme titled ‘Samarpan, A Tribute to the Pandanallur Tradition’ tomorrow (November 1), 6.30 p.m., at The Music Academy. She will be accompanied by students of her dance school, Kaladiksha.

Says Meenakshi, “I have trained in the Pandanallur bani under gurus Pandanallur Chockalingam Pillai and Subbaraya Pillai, for over three decades. This production, which happily coincides with the centenary year of Subbaraya Pillai, is my way of expressing my gratitude to them, and taking the sampradaya to a new generation.”

Also, Meenakshi will be showcasing some rare Thanjavur Quartet compositions, which she has re-choreographed to suit a group presentation. She explains, “The Pandanallur gurus, descendants of the Quartet, established a style that boasts clean lines, intricate rhythm and a minimalistic approach to convey maximum bhava.”

Meenakshi and her disciples will aptly open with ‘Sri Raja Rajeswari’, a Gurustuthi in the rare raga, Rama Manohari. A Thodi jatiswaram with only thathakaram and sans jatis, will offer a unique touch.

Meenakshi has chosen a sabdam in Khamas, ‘Kodandapanikku Sallamurae,’ which the Quartet is said to have composed during the rule of the Mahratta kings in Thanjavur.

The finale will be Veena Seshanna’s Senchurutti thillana. The compere for the show is Revathy Sankaran, the technical director is Victor Paulraj and costume is by Poornima Ramaswamy. The performance is open to all.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 12:36:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/the-king-was-captivated-and/article6548138.ece

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