Tamil epics well-choreographed
PARVATI RAVI Ghantasala's presentation of the Five Tamil epics grouped as Aimperunkappiam, under the auspices of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Kala Kendra and Kala Pradarshini seemed a marathon effort. While the well-known stories of Seevaka Chintamani, and Silappadhikaram provide ample source-material for a dance ballet production, the less prominent ones, "Valayapatti", "Kundalakesi," and "Manimekalai," have been tactfully and colourfully constructed on scarce literary material available. Apart from portions of literary excerpts for Seevaka Chintamani and Silappadhikaram, a continuous flow of the story line was maintained with lyrics composed by Kumbakonam Gajendran at appropriate places, using suitable ragas to highlight the different moods. The production revealed Parvati's dedication and perseverance in proving her individual skill as a dancer, teacher and choreographer. The group of students who accompanied Parvati exhibited good co-ordination and enthusiasm.
Parvati's role as narrator and as the performer of the major roles was fine. However, she could have made use of some of the disciples to depict certain characters in the plays. For instance, the role of the hero in Seevaka Chintamani, would have been better with one of the taller girls doing it. The opening song in praise of Tamil Goddess and the one on Sound (Osai in the first play) by Gajendran were impressive and well-performed by Parvati. The scenes of Seevakan's skill in Yazh playing, his marriage with seven maidens, and the warfare came one after the other in an easy flow. However, the war scene could have been crisper and devoid of other forms like Kalari, which did not blend well with the concept. The philosophical outpourings on the unstability of wealth, Youthfulness (Valibam - elaborated with apt ideas by Parvati,) and the ultimate goal of life that underline the stories of the plays, "Valayapati", "Kundalakesi" and "Manimekalai" through the meaningful lyrics of Gajendran deserve mention. However, extracts from the original "Silappadhikaram" like "Tera Manna" etc. by Kannagi, as part of Vazhakkurai Kaadai, lost their charm because of the bland rendering of the same, by Indumati, one of the singers. What was lacking here was better co-ordination.
Suggestive pin-ups of the Silambu, Chintamani, etc. denoted the main titles of the plays. Orchestra comprising Girija Ramaswamy, Indumati and Priyasree Rao, accompanied by Padmanabhan (mridangam), Venkatsubramaniam (tabla), Nagaraju (violin) and Srinivasan (flute) provided solid support, although Indumati's trembling voice was disturbing from time to time. Priyasree has to improve her voice modulation. Girija as usual gave very matured vocal support, enhancing the mood of the situations. Suki, from Kalakshetra, is an excellent accompanist on the Nattuvangam (also in charge of rhythmical sequences) and conducted the show with confidence and perfect grip. Kalyani Rajaraman as compere, added charm to the show.
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