AN ENJOYABLE amalgamation of the three compartments of Muthamizh word, sound and image in the Bharatanatyam recital of Priyadarshini Govind for Kartik Fine Arts, proved to be a blissful experience for the audience. Lyricist Vijayaraghavan had composed a varnam format, based on the divine love of Sri Andal Nachiyar for Sri Arangan. "Aatkolla Vendum Ayyanae," had music set in a lively ragamalika by Hariprasad, an excellent singer. His rendition of the varnam added a new dimension to the varied facets of the art form.
Priyadarshini, after the opening number, proceeded to the major piece. The composition, which commenced with Andal's longing for her Lord to take her under His refuge, continued with the expression of the affliction and the suffering of the Nayika, the episode of Choodikkodutha Nachiar, and concluded in the first section with the singing the praise of the Lord-beloved.
Just like the varnams of the past, Vijayaraghavan had composed the lyrics with limited words, allowing scope for extensive improvisation, crisp, simple, yet very meaningful and above all, merging totally with the musical lining. While the lyrics had interesting rhyming words like Vaadi, Choodi and Paadi, each of which could be interpreted in many ways, Hariprasad's composition of the Muktayi swara and the charana swaras were very lively.
Priyadarshini's presentation of the varnam was excellent. With her supple physique she mingled with the composition, soaking herself in utmost Bhakti Srngara. Her delineation of the different ideas came out as smooth as silk. A fine example is her dream of the Lord, whom the Nayika follows fervently, and wakes up to realise the truth. Her entire treatment of the theme was coated with dignity and devotion. The latter part was vibrant with the ecstasy and anxiety of the devotee in reaching Arangam and finally very serenely dissolving into one with the Paratatva after the vision of the Lord.
Priya's execution of the technical portions encompassed both intricacy and picturesque stances, danced with absolute ease and control, although at times there seemed more of poses than real adavus, especially in the theermanams. A. Lakshman wielded the cymbals efficiently, assisted ably by Viswanathan for percussive support.
The verse "Ramo Naama Babhoova" from "Krishna Karnamrutam" was the following piece. In a Bharatanatyam repertoire, the slokam or a viruttam, with its free-flowing music and lyrical content is usually performed without the percussive accompaniment, more so as it comes after the major numbers of the performance. The skill of the dancer to handle this musical composition requires enormous inner strength and intuition in music; flowing musical extension alone provides the essential background for the dancer to develop her ideas. Viswanathan's percussive embellishment for this sloka seemed unnecessary, but helped to strengthen Priya's depiction of this piece. Sikhamani's violin accompaniment for the evening was relaxing.
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