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Honesty in art and spirit



CLEAN SWEEP Smita Bellur's music was austere, shorn of unnecessary embellishments

The secret of young Hindustani singer Smitha Bellur lies in her total submission to her art in soul and spirit. Her recital at the Nayana auditorium as part of the Every Wednesday Cultural Evening Programme was notable for more than one reason. She is gifted with a thin and impressive voice. The hard work she has put in terms of grasping the nuances of the ragas was evident. To top it all was the taut expositions that showed a natural austerity.

Smitha Bellur, a disciple of Pandit Balachandra Nakod and Pandit Rajbahu Sontakke, is also endowed with natural talent. She began her recital with a stirring raga Malkauns. This was a finely sculptured piece of work subtly laid out. Singing in the company of Madhumale (tabla) and Kashinath Patthar (harmonium) she drew the raga on a larger canvas with vilambit and drut compositions ("Paga lagana", "Rangareliya karath"). No frills, no needless decoration, and a clean sweep of the raga alone were indicators of her future and her growth and development as an artiste. The sargams brought out her sensible layakari. A bhajan "Vignaharan Gowri ke Nandan" had emotional intensity. The vocalist enriched the recital with the profound rendition of a vachana "Bandahanendu".

Lively translation

It is always a pleasure to watch guru Padmini Ramachandran's exposition of nritta through her students. She enjoys each and every bit of her student's performance and inspires them with her vibrant nattuvanga.

I was enthralled by not only her nattuvanga but also the Bharatanatya duet performed by her disciples Kavitha Nair and Vineetha Nair at the Yavanika during the Every Friday Cultural Evening Programme series.

The Nair sisters deserve to be commended for the manner in which they translated all the ideas of their guru with their lively footwork and fluid limb movements. While the ardha mandalis were almost perfect, their mukhaabhinaya was unto the required standard.

With a powerful musical ensemble comprising Guru Padmini Ramachandran (nattuvanga), Nandakumar (vocal), Vivek (flute), Kavitha and Vineetha's traditional Pushpanjali (Arabhi) was followed by a highly expressive salutation to "Sri Vignaraja" (khanda triputa:Gambheera Nata), Lord of Chidambara — Nataraja (with a shloka "Kripa samudram sumukham") and mishra alarippu. The nritta appended to it with intricate jathis, varied aduvus and korvais — all of a high order.

The piece-de-resistance of the recital was certainly the explication of pada varna by K. Dandayudhapani Pillai set to raga Poorvikalyani. "Swamiye vara cholladi" addressed to the Lord Shanmuga depicts the virahothkanthitha nayika. The sisters made it a wholesome presentation with fine nritta, nrithya and abhinaya.

The portrayal of a child Krishna on the basis of a Kannada Dasa pada "Kuni kuniyo Krishna" (Mayamalavagowla) suited the petite dancer Vineetha Nair.

But too much of exhibitionism with acrobatic movements marred the aesthetics of the theme. Kavitha did well in the rendition of a Tamil pada ("Ananda koothnaadinaar" (Shanmukhapriya) and with her neat abhinaya showed the happy dancing of Nataraja.

M. SURYA PRASAD

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