She is an epitome of the Natya Sastra axiom: Yatho hasta thatho drishti; Yatho drishti thatho manah; Yatho manah thatho bhaava; Yatho bhaava thatho rasa . Her name doesn’t ring a bell in popular circuit; Vidya Subramanian doesn’t need props to make herself known. She only has to take to the stage and fame is sure to follow. Yet, she was introduced as S.K. Rajaratnam Pillai’s prime disciple. Everything turned out perfect from the word go. A nattuvanar (Srilatha) who made her presence felt amply complimented by a mellifluous vocalist (Gopalakrishnan), a dexterous mridangist (Ramanathan ) and a melodic violin (Easwar) with a superb dancer centrestage.
Within ten minutes of her invocatory to lord Nataraja, she made her viewers sit up wonderstruck and watch without batting an eyelid for the next one-and-half-hours! The slokas flowed without a breather interspersed with jatis and Vidya’s nritta pulsated with life even as her abhinaya gave expression to the verses being rendered. Her countenance wore a serene look as if she was in deep meditation while her body danced in rhythmic perfection to the song and sollukattu. She brought the lord of laya (Nataraja) alive on stage.
With an artiste like Vidhya, a Varnam or Tillana is no pre-requisite to her prowess and staying power as a dancer. The invocatory piece was enough to establish her credentials as an ‘elevated’ artiste. The Karaharapriya flowed eloquently to ‘Mohamahinen indha velayil…’ , a beautiful varnam that builds up the emotion of the nayika as she pines for her beloved. Her diverse abhinaya for the single line of the pallavi, her execution of complex footwork patterns interlacing the charanam where the mood (rasa) too undergoes a change and her adroit use of stage space were testimonials to her artistic proficiency.
There was a striking clarity in her fingers as they moulded into requisite mudras which conveyed the bhava words can fail to express. The deer and tiger mime extolling her ‘nathan’s’ valour, her meticulous abhinaya (stringing the bow to enact Manmadha) to pure violin accompaniment, the nayika’s facial expression of pain as the arrows strike her at different parts of her body, the sudden makeover to vigorous dance as the lines of the song (nadanam aadum) change the mood, adorning her eyes with black soot (kajal), pleating her sari and tucking it in and again another change to defiance (yaar kaha bhayam), such minute details were worked out with great finesse in the course of her varnam. The slight tilt and sway as she went through the sancharis lent a grace to her move which was very aesthetic.
Vidya’s cakewalked with the ashtapadi, ‘Sakhi hey kesi madana mudaram…’.
The energetic, vivacious dancer gave away to a totally love-lorn Radha who muses and mulls on her first romantic interlude with Krsna. Her half-bent face conveyed a myriad manifestation of love from bashful to romantic to wide-eyed joy at the Prathama samagama.
The erotic was expressed in the most subtle, silent language of body kinetics. ‘Indendu vacchitivi raa…’ (Surati) continued the nayika (in this case khandita) theme which could have been supplemented by something better because by now we had already two nayikas (Varnam and Ashtapadi). The artiste’s depiction was however beyond comment.
Her eyes and face did the talking more than her hands as she shooed away her wayward beloved in mock and real anger. The tillana in Amritavarshini was once again a shower of super expressive nritta which was gently concluded with another sloka to lord Shiva in utter obeisance. The solo show was put together by P.K. Usha and Kalasindhu.