Friday Review

When the night was still young


The concept of an all-night concert is not new to the city of Bangalore. And yet, each time it happens, there is something that is so invigorating about it. Perhaps, it is the format of the event itself: the promise of a night dedicated to music and dance- an escape if you like. Or, it is the idea of conquering the night by being outside, gazing at the stars, albeit of a different kind.

For the magic it weaves, an all-night concert series demands a resolute rasika, one that can fight the pressures of the drooping eye at nightfall and play his or her role as an ardent admirer. And, if you have to leave, when is an appropriate time?

The question is almost always about taking in as much as possible for the fear of missing out something exquisite is a valid concern- a late night thumri in Behag or an early morning Bhairavi alapana, for example. Keeping all of this in mind, I entered ‘Yamini 2015’, an all-night classical music and dance concert, organised by SPIC MACAY in association with PES University recently. An array of white mattresses adorned the floor to host the audience, a team of students were still putting the decorations up and veteran Bharatanatyam dancer, V.P. Dhananjayan’s orchestra was busy with the sound-check.

Another fascinating opportunity that such a concert offers is a chance to see artists prepping before their performance.

The audience saw the dancer for the evening in the making, specially someone like Dhananjayan who is known for his attention to detail and his eye for perfection.

Beginning with the traditional pushpanjali, both Shantha and Dhananjayan along with their students, Anusha Natarajan and Sarveshan declared the concert open. The investment of several years in dance is what the Dhananjayans brought to stage.

This was visible not only when they danced but was also clearly discernible in the training they had given to both Anusha and Sarveshan.

The Dhananjayans’ rendition of ‘Nrityopaharam’, a piece that is one of the earliest choreographies of Bharatakalanjali, their dance school, was the star of their concert. In this piece, Dhananjayan’s portrayal of a bhakta pining for the love of Krishna was moving to say the least. Anusha and Sarveshan took over the stage in the second half of this piece and infused the composition with energy with their near-perfect nritta.

Just as one was soaking in the raas-like thillana performed by Anusha and Sarveshan, it was time for the next concert, a Hindustani music recital by Parveen Sultana.

The stage, from a site of dance transformed into that of a baithak. Parveen Sultana made her audience wait but almost all the long hours of waiting proved worthwhile when she traced the first notes of Behag. Those who had stepped out for a break had returned well before Sultana took her seat on stage.

Sultana’s exploration of the raag was thorough. With her voice bending to each thought of hers, she elicited a spontaneous 'wah' from her audience each time she discovered the intricacies of the raag and expressed them through her magnificent voice.

The bandish in Behag made way for a resplendent thumri in Misra Peelu and the night only became more beautiful.

Unfortunately, for me, as fate would have it, the real world intervened and I had to abandon the concert even though the rasika in me wanted to stay. I left the auditorium trying to convince myself that I had gathered all the treasures I could find but I also knew that the night was just beginning. And the fear of missing out loomed large in my head.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 3:05:35 PM |

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