Friday Review

Earnest attempt

A thematic presentation of dance and music based on the Panchabhuta krithis of Muthuswami Dikshithar was a commendable effort

‘Panchabhutalingam’, a thematic presentation of dance and music based on the Panchabhuta krithis of Muthuswami Dikshithar, was conceptualised by Usha R.K. and staged by Sadguru Sri Thyagabrahma Aradhana Kainkarya Trust, Bengaluru, recently.

The rendering of the compositions by vocalist G. Ravikiran was supplemented with the improvisational components of a classical Carnatic concert, and reinforced with a visual representation of the lyrics by exponents of Bharathanatya in both solo and group formats. The accompanying artists were Pulikeshi Kasturi (nattuvanga), H.N. Bhaskar (violin), R. Raghunandan (flue), and K. Arun Prakash and S.V. Balakrishna (mridanga).

Obeisance was paid by all participants to the Supreme Power that manifests itself in every aspect of creation through the invocatory verse of Kalidasa’s ‘Abhijnana Shakuntalam’ beginning ‘Ya Srishtih Srashturaadya Vahati’. Jai Quehaeni, whose solo was next, danced to ‘Ananda Natana Prakasham’ set to Kedaram raga and mishra chapu thala. Radhika Ramanujam performed ‘Sri Kalahastheesha’ in Huseni raga and jhampa thala, while Surya Rao presented the rupaka thala krithi ‘Arunachalanatham’ in Saranga. ‘Jambupathe’ in Yamunakalyani, set to tisra ekatala, choreographed by Poornima Gururaj and presented by Gowri, Sneha, Aditi, Prithvi and Soundarya, was followed by Soundarya Srivatsa’s delineation of ‘Chintaya Makanda Moolakandam’ in Bhairavi set to rupaka thala, the last of the five krithis on Lord Shiva as the embodiment of akasha, vayu, agni, jala and prithvi, residing in the magnificent temples at Chidambaram, Kalahasti, Thiruvannamalai, Thiruvanaikkaval and Kanchipuram respectively.

The dancers, of varying degrees of seniority and experience, displayed commendable proficiency and dedication in the elucidation of the lyrics, aided by the sedate tempo of the renditions. Well synchronised footwork and abhinaya, and choreography beautifully aligned to the music, accentuated the succinct depictions of the various facets of the Lord and the legends associated with each of the temples.

On the whole, the rich imagery and allusions in the compositions made for absorbing portrayals. On occasion, however, the complexity and profundity of the subject called for deeper analysis and interpretation, as for instance, in the expressions ‘Bhukti Mukti Prada Daharaakaasham’ in the Kedaram piece, ‘Apraakrita Tejomayalingam’ and ‘Aprameyam Aparnaabja Bhringam’ in ‘Arunachalanatham’.

Indicative of material and spiritual boons and the connect between the daharaakasha and chidaakasha, and the ineffable effulgence of the Supreme who is also described as the bee hovering around the lotus that is Devi, the lines warranted interpretations that were more pertinent and insightful.

The manodharma aspects of music, attempted before or after the dancers performed, were exemplified in the fluent and melodious kalpana swaras appended to the first krithi, and in the robust, gamaka laden alapana, and the impressive thana, kalpana swaras and thani avarthana that adorned the last, supported by an array of accomplished accompanists.

Unfortunately the sahithya, of utmost primacy in presentations such as this, seemed muffled and overshadowed by the instruments at certain junctures. Greater clarity and quality in the sound system and balancing would have highlighted the majestic cadence and import of the words to better effect. Overall, the performance was a worthy attempt, and an earnest tribute to the grandeur of the compositions.



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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 10:42:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/earnest-attempt/article7085220.ece

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