Simple and unassuming, Bragha Bessel, wove magic with her mimetic skills.
Photo: S. Thanthoni.
ELOQUENT EYES: Bragha Bessel.
Buddha's wife Yashodhara wakes up one morning to find her husband missing. She is at first puzzled, then panicky when she sees his footwear missing. She turns frantic and is ultimately inconsolable on comprehending the truth. This was just a sample of Bragha Bessel's sensitive offerings.
As Yashodhara, she was unbelievably insightful, as she slowly built up the intensity of the dramatisation in "Yashodhara Vilaapam'' composed by Basava Raju Appa Rao for a Telugu movie more than 50 years ago.
This programme signalled a sort of a comeback for Bragha, who has been living outside India for some years now. Though she has per force been out of touch, the break has not lessened the high calibre of artistry. Having been groomed by the best, Guru Adyar K. Lakshman and Guru Kalanidhi Narayanan, her talent had been honed to a rare refinement.
Bragha has a simple, unassuming presence, until she begins to weave magic on her audience with her sophisticated mimetic skills. Thus an oft-repeated "Mohamaana'' varnam by the Thanjavur Quartet in Bhairavi ragam, Rupaka talam, becomes a passionate love poem to Tiruvarur Tyagesa, with its attendant nuances. Her eyes are so eloquent, one glance enough to convey the depth of admiration for the nayaka or the pain of separation from Him.
Bragha's nritta has a soft focus well timed and delicate but at best only pleasing. The pure dance sequences intoned with quiet authority by Adyar Lakshman in the varnam, were short on energy and vitality. It seemed as if Bragha had reserved her best for the dramatic portions.
But surprisingly, the dancer's vigour improved as the programme wore on. So the Sankarabarnam tillana in Adi talam became the most vibrant piece, where music, dance and rhythm came together in a scintillating finale.
Bragha's portrayal of a young, innocent in the Ashtapadi, "Sakhi He Keshi Mathanam Udharam," "Suddha Sarang Ragam, misra chapu talam, captured disarmingly the heroine's first intimate tryst with Krishna. Suffice to say that she understands the power of subtlety, where less works better than the converse.
Hariprasad, vocalist, was consistently melodic, as was his counterpart, T. K. Padmanabhan on the violin. Nellai D. Kannan provided rhythmic support with much relish.
Send this article to Friends by
Chennai and Tamil Nadu