Of vintage value

WELL executED: Revathi Ramachandran.

WELL executED: Revathi Ramachandran.   | Photo Credit: PHOTO: B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM


The success of Revathi Ramachandran’s recital belonged as much to the musicians as to the choreographer and the dancers.

Revathi Ramachandran’s Bharatanatyam recital for Indian Fine Arts was memorable for the vintage classics she pulled out of her archives and for the strong orchestra that backed these presentations. The music and the dance combined well and seemed to provide a new perspective to Revathi’s style, making it softer, unhurried and more appealing.

The vintage pieces, the kriti, (‘Sri Ganapathinee,’ Saurashtra, Tyagaraja), the varnam (‘Mohamana,’ Bhairavi, Rupakam, Ponniah Pillai), and the pancha-gati nadai bedham Shuddha Nrittam, had been choreographed or revived by the dancer’s guru, the late Guru Mangudi Dorairaja Iyer, founder of the Melattur style of Bharatanatyam. It was a nritta-dominated repertoire, yet the rhythm was not overwhelming because it was simple, neat and poetic in its ebb and flow patterns. Revathi’s was a painstaking effort as she fashioned Ganesha many times over through different mudras and poses in the opening invocation and as she navigated the theermanams with clear adavu execution and strong footwork in the varnam.

Deft percussion

The involved percussionists, N.K. Kesavan (mridangam, ganjira) and N.K. Shyam Sunder (nattuvangam) added another layer of drama with their deft drumming and timekeeping, that included tonal variations for different adavus and special sound effects for crisper finishes.

Their rhythm and stylish demeanour were so entertaining one wonders if Mangudi Dorairaja Iyer had bargained for so much drama from the wings!

The melody section of the orchestra consisted of Sashidhar (vocal) who gave restrained melody befitting the compositions while B.Muthukumar (flute) and Kalaiarasan (violin) peppered the evening with melodious moments. The flautist’s bird calls and his fillers in the abhang-style song (‘Deena karunakarane,’ Hindustani Behag, Papanasam Sivan) were especially catchy.

The interpretation of the varnam was more bhakti-based than sringara. Sancharis or anecdotes about the Tiruvarur temple and its presiding deity, Tyagesa, such as the story of how Indra’s lingam was installed in Tiruvarur, the dance of Siva within Vishnu’s heart and the famed temple procession, were highlighted. It was only in the charanam section that Cupid or ‘Maaran’ and his flower arrows were highlighted. The sahitya portions did not receive as much attention as the nritta, but Revathi was adequately clear in conveying the ideas.

In the subsequent pieces, ‘Bhavayami’ and the 1939 ‘Thiruneelakantar’ movie song sung by Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, the overpowering melodies grabbed more attention than the low-key interpretations. The success of this recital belonged as much to the musicians as to the choreographer and the dancer.

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