Too much of mime
BHARATANATYAM HAS ITS own repertoire, handed down by the Tanjavur Quartette and followed by almost every dancer of that form, who sticks to it. The original `Melaprapti' has lost its use, at least from about three decades ago, replaced by Pushpanjali.
Padmini Ravi, senior disciple of K. J. Sarasa, started her programme (December 21) with Pushpanjali, done neatly, though the voice of the girl, who did nattuvangam, was not audible, certainly not any fault in the microphone. Next, she took up a varna in Kharaharapriya, "Mohamagi" of Dandayudhapani Pillai. A beautiful varna, which she wanted to execute beautifully. At the same time, it must be mentioned that the Teermanams were too lengthy (which has become common in the present times). Generally a Teermanam has an appendix, called `arudi', which means `limit' or `boundary'. The arudi would naturally follow the Teermanam immediately, for only that indicates that the particular segment of the Teermanam comes to a close. On the contrary, Padmini Ravi ended the Teermanam to be followed by a silence on the part of the musicians, while she went on miming. Even for the Teermanams, instead of executing adavus, the artiste indulged in miming. The `arudi' came after about one or two minutes. This was flippant.
In the Muktayisvara, as is right, one should execute adavus, first, while the sahitya portion will be dealt with, usually, with Tattimettu adavu, whereas, Padmini Ravi did the adavus for the swaras but took up Tattimettu only in the third time, that is, after miming for the previous renderings.
During the Ettukada portion and the swara passages, Padmini resumed doing Tattimettu, as it should be. The next number was "Aduvum Solluval', a padam of Vaideeswarankovil Subbarama Iyer, which she did well, though in this also the miming was too much. In totem, there seemed to be no sense of proportion in adavus as against mime. She has Bhava, Nrutta... everything required for a good danseuse, but something was missing. It was too demanding on the mind and never evoked any rasa among the audience, just like a body without soul, Lakshmi Ravi wielded the cymbals in an appreciable manner and N. G. Ravi provided mridangam support. Neela Ramanujam did her part of singing well.
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