Dance homage to Tyagaraja
Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala.
BHARATIYA VIDYA Bhavan Kalakendra and Kala Pradarshini jointly organised the dance presentation of the Pancharatna kritis of Saint Tyagaraja in connection with his Aradhana celebrations.
This annual feature has gained momentum in the past couple of years, due to the sustained efforts of judge Bhaktavatsalam, well-known art patron, and the driving force behind the endeavours of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Kala Kendra and Kalapradarshini. Industrialist P. Obul Reddy who is behind every effort that propagates Sri Tyagaraja's compositions, presided over and Mrs. Y. G. Parthsarathy, inaugurated the event.
Prominent dancers, Priyadarshini Govind , Parvati Ravi Ghantasala , Jayanthi Subramaniam, Revathi Ramachandran and Urmila Satyanarayanan made this an offering in true spirit of devotion.
The overwhelming audience response proved the popularity of these senior artistes. All of them had put in their heart and soul to make their presentations successful. But the fact remains that the dancers themselves were fully aware of the limitations in adapting the Pancharatna Kritis to Bharatanatyam format. These compositions are the devotional outpourings of the saint-singer and are a perennial source of strength and solace. The encyclopaedic nature of these marathon pieces does not allow the dancer to dwell at leisure on the lines for a methodical development of the sentiments or their culmination, which is the basic requisite of the art form. Priyadarshini Govind, well-known for her skill in abhinaya, presented the opening number, ``Jagadaanandakaaraka," which sings the glory and virtues of the Lord, beloved of Janaki, who evokes great joy to the entire universe. Priyadarshini, tall and elegant, set the tone for the recitalHer approach was a neat blend of Nritta and Abhinaya. However, for the repetitive line of the Pallavi, after the swara segments, Priya could have devised a variety of interpretations, depicting the different episodes of the Dasavatara or other episodic narrations on the Lord, as the ever-blissful redeemer of the devotees. Similarly, for ``Omkara Panjara Keera... " where there is scope for a deeper analysis, some more interpretations could have been added. That apart, Priyadarshini gave a heart-warming presentation that stood out for its quality. The sparkling arudis added a new dimension to this pleasant, picturesque offering.
Sri Tyagaraja's composition ``Dudukugala," discusses the Lord's Grace for the sinners and enumerates the sins and expresses the saint's own feelings of agony in not having realised the need to seek refuge at the feet of the divine. Parvati Ravi Ghantasala, who chose this piece for delineation, deserves special praise for it requires considerable strength of mind to handle the theme without making it monotonous. Parvati had tactfully linked the rhythmical sections partly with interpretations and filled the rest with limited Nritta elaborations which added an apt background for the main ideas sung in the lyrical portions. Parvati appeared serene and depicted self-condemnation of the singing minstrel without exaggeration. The meaning of the song read out by Krishnakumari Narendran was too long. Perhaps, Kalyani Rajaraman, who compered in a crisp manner, could have done this part also. It will be better for Krishna-kumari to remember that while doing Nattu-vangam, she has to synchronise with the dancer and not with the mridangam player.
Kudos to Jayanthi Subramaniam, a refined artiste, for her neat portrayal of the well-known number ``Sadhinchene," in which the composer talks about how the Lord subjects His devotees to trials in order to test their devotion. Jayanthi's tranquil face lent the essential touch of serenity to this presentation. Her delineation for the episodic narrations, especially for ``Gopijana-manorathamu" and ``Sadbhaktula" were lively.
In ``Kanakana-ruchira," the ecstasy of the devotee on describing the Rupa Mahima (Glory of the Form) was missing in Revathi Rama-chandran's portrayal. There was some anxiety in her facial expression. Also the incorporation of the Suddha Nritta technique in the initial segment did not blend well with the theme which describes Rama as one who delights the devotee with His matchless beauty of form. Revathi's depiction of Jatayu Moksha and the final two charanas containing various beautiful references of Lord Rama were accurate and pleasant.
Urmila Satyanarayanan presented the final gemEndaro Mahanubhavulu, steeped in bhakti. In this, Sri Tyagaraja, praises and salutes all the past, present and future devotees of Lord Rama whom he describes as his own friends. The vibrance and sincerity which one associates with Urmila were very much present. Her description of the scriptures, the Shanmata (the six-fold-path of devotion to Lord Siva) and the joy arising out of musical excellence were crisp and precise.
Apt delineations, smooth flow of interpretations, and clarity in visualisation were the high points of Urmila's narration.
Among the vocalists, Sushanth (for Priyadashini Govind) Girija Ramaswamy (Parvati Ravi) and Vanati Raghuraman (Jayanthi Subramaniam) gave of their best and took care to pronounce the words with clarity.
Sashidharan who sang for Revathi did not give the necessary touches to Varali (``Kanakanaruchira" ) and kept pronouncing the word, (Kanaka) vasana as vachana.
Swamimalai K. Suresh stood out for his excellent rendering of the Sri Raga alapana and the composition, bringing a serene touch to the conclusion of the event.
Nellai Kannan, most sought-after Mridangam player, who accompanied three dancers that evening, provided enjoyable and creative support. A. Lakshman, Krishnakumari Narendran, Roja Kannan, Shyam, and Swamimalai Suresh wielded the cymbals accompanied by some of the prominent instru-mentalists in the dance arena like M. S. Kannan, Sitarama Sarma and Kalai Arasan (violin), Bhagyalakshmi (flute) and Padmanabhan and N. K. Kesavan (mridangam).
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