FRIDAY REVIEW

Entertaining cultural fortnight

CONNOISSEURS' DELIGHT: M. Balamuralikrishna  



L. RENGANATHAN

The 62nd anniversary of the Narada Gana Sabha, Karur, was celebrated with great fanfare.

It was a fortnight worth remembering for the fine arts connoisseurs of Karur as the 62nd anniversary of the Narada Gana Sabha paraded an assemblage of popular names who turned in noteworthy performances.The vocal concert by Bombay Sisters, C. Saroja and C. Lalitha, provided the perfect take-off for the anniversary with their usual elegance. Notable kritis and numbers flowed in ragas Nattai, Kamas, Poorvikalyani and Madhyamavathi apart from the immensely popular Kavadichindu. The major raga, Madhyamavathi, was delineated aesthetically and artistically to the satisfaction of the knowledgeable audience. K. R. Ganesh (mridangam) and Murali (ghatam) provided admirable support to the siblings. Pity, the performance had to accommodate the time consumed by the formal inauguration.

Exquisite and lively

Roja Kannan turned in a compelling Bharatanatyam performance replete with nimble footwork accompanied by the apt mudras seeking to portray three episodes from Narayana Tirtha Tarangini. At a time when solo dance performances are being increasingly replaced with group forays, Roja Kannan's exquisite expressions stood out.

Enjoyable recital

Veteran violinist A. Kanyakumari's concert began with a varnam in Abhogi and literally eased into Hamsadhwani, Saramati, Nattai and reached the crescendo with the ragamalika. Interestingly, Kanyakumari's violin synchronised well with the nagaswaram of Mambalam M. K. S. Siva and the veena of Mudikondan Ramesh — a heady and enjoyable blend indeed. "Mokshamugalada" (Saramati) and "Jagadananda Karaka" (Nattai) stood out in the performance. But the icing on the cake was the well-received admixture of ragas Kapi, Mohanam and Hindolam for the ragam-tanam-pallavi rendition.

Enticing all the way

Then followed the legendary M. Balamuralikrishna's classical vocal concert, wherein he rendered three kirtanas in ragas Magadhi, Kalyani and Todi. His Kadanakuthuhalam was impressive even as he signed off with a wonderful tillana. Titles and accolades sit lightly on the great musician and yet another honour came his way when the Sabha conferred the title, `Gana Kala Bharati' on him. Sathya Sai Creations provided a humorous touch for the evening with their `Kalakara Machchi' and `Asattu Mappillai,' both directed admirably by Korattur Lakshmanan.For the next three days, it was a spiritual odyssey piloted by Kalyanapuram R. Aravamuthachariar in his Harikatha chariot. Holding forth on Krishna Leela, the protagonist detailed a particular episode of Narada extolling the virtue of Yasodha, the foster mother of Lord Krishna even as she was giving bath to her precocious ward that was holding fast to her feet. "When all universe was longing to have a glimpse of His golden feet, how virtuous you should be to have Him holding fast to your feet," overcome with sublime emotion, Narada marvels at Yasodha. Why only Brahma and Indran, all those who heard Aravamuthachariar that day reached out to their handkerchief even as they were tempted to turn envious of Yasodha. Surprisingly, a sizeable audience transcending social stratifications and age turned up to hear the Harikatha on all the three days.