Nithya Nagarajan: Brimming with promise
- PVS Manian

January 4, 2009

This is the season when Chennai faces a deluge of dancers from around the globe. Young aspirants to the legendary city's stages to show off their year long learning and cultural acumen throng the city’s sabhas and attempt to dazzle rasikas with their "authentic" and "true classicism." Shadowing this growing group are the fond mothers and fathers – anxious to display the result of many years of "guru dakshina" and endless chauffering to weekend dance classes.

Sathya Nagarajan is one such mother. Pleasant, determined and very proud of her daughter Nithya. Living in oil rich Kuwait, Sathya's daughter Nithya is a B.Com student in MOP Vaishnav College in Chennai and loves dance like thousands of her NRI generation.

Nithya began her Margazhi dance season on December 2, 2008 with the first in a series of Bharatanatyam performances. Performed at the historic Mylapore Fine Arts auditorium, she was accompanied by veteran musicians – Lalitha Ganapathy (guru on nattuvangam), Bhagyalakshmi (vocal), Saktivel (mridangam), Srinivasan (flute) and Sikhamani (violin).

Nithya began tentatively with the Mallari in Gambeeranattai but quickly warmed up to the venue and occasion, her youth and agility communicating with the audience. Her bhava delineations in veteran critic late Subbudu’s popular Varnam “Annamae Aruginil Va” in Valaji as a lament by Deivayanai opposed to Lord Muruga’s pursuits with Valli, extolled the grandeur of the composition. Nithya neatly captured the traits and majesty of Lord Ganesha’s walk and gait.

In the 'friend-to-friend' exchanges on gossips, "Adhuvum Solluvaal" in Saurashtram, Nithya's gestures were delightful with varied interpretations.

The final dance showed imaginative use of space. This is where Nithya really came into her own with confidence and clarity of movements. The Kalinganardhana Thillana in Gambeeranattai (an Aruna Sairam masterpiece), was the apt prism for Nithya who symbolized an entire generation of young girls who are reaching towards their homeland through Bharatanatyam and for who, this classical dance style has become a bridge to the land of their forefathers.

What made the evening a pleasant viewing experience was the intelligent programming and taut duration of each item, never prolonging one moment or one song to ennui.

Nithya Nagarajan did her parents proud. She also reaffirmed her own love of the dance that shone through her performance and unflagging energy.


PVS Manian was a former Hony. Editor of Metro Mail and is a Coordinator, PRO, Advisor to Delhi foundation of deaf women.