THIS YEAR'S Nritya Choodamani awardee, Urmila Satyanarayanan
gave a sparkling performance for Sri Krishna Gana Sabha. The recital commenced with a vigorous, colourful Pancharatna Mallari, composed by Kulikkarai Pichaiappa.
The major number of the evening was the marathon Varnam, Sami Entani(Surati) of Sri Subbarama Dikshitar, wherein the friend plays the lead role as the informant to the patron-king, Sri Muddu (not Muthu) sami Ettendra, about the plight of the love-lorn heroine. Urmila attended to both Nritta and abhinaya aspects of the Varnam with equal skill. However,the delineations for Kaminchina appeared more colloquial. Also the elaborations for Sri Muddu Sami Ettendra, could have been expanded further with appropriate sancharis.
The Muktayi and the following swara sections were danced with much spirit and enthusiasm, concluding with bright arudis.
The following number was a lullaby, by Irayimman Tampi, a royal court poet of Travancore, who is said to have composed this piece for the royal child Sri Swati Tirunal. Urmila could have presented this piece at the end of the recital to conclude in a tranquil mood. She handled this piece with care but her treatment of the theme did not create the right impact.
The lullaby compositions are meant for putting the child to sleep. Expressing ideas like seeking the protection of the Gods and Goddesses for the sleeping baby, admiring the beauty of the limbs of the child and such others would be of better appeal than what the dancer elaborated by way of a prelude like feeding the child, bathing it etc, all of which only show a casual approach.
Due to these actions there was a lack of propriety at this part of the recital and The gentle lyrics were not fully exploited to give a beautiful version of this composition.
Swamimalai Suresh is an asset in Urmila's orchestra. His vocal outline of the Surati raga was chaste. His Nattuvangam was crisp and both these twin areas were well managed by Suresh. Nellai D. Kannan's mridangam accompaniment was excellent. His cross rhythmical play, and the different nadai patterns enhanced the beauty of the performance.
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