- The triumph of teamwork
November 23, 2009
The programme was billed originally as "Mohana – Krishna beckons, based on Oothukkaadu songs." Ananda had a change of mind. Instead she offered two features - a mix of the thematic and the traditional - which turned out to be a rewarding experience for the rasikas. The evening was divided into two sessions with a musical interlude. The first one was called 'Navarasas – Expressions of Life' and the second was pure Kuchipudi entitled 'Simhanandini.'
In the normal course, navarasas are portrayed through the medium of a story or an episode narrated in a song. Ananda's conceptualisation was bold and out of the box. She abstracted the emotions, distilled and presented them in their quintessential purity, of course accompanied by singing that spelled out the rasas with the recitation of jatis. There was no need for the mention of the rasas as they came through loud and clear thanks to the professional performance of the dancers.
portrayed by the group of students of Ananda were accompanied by appropriate
ragas from the side wings. It was obvious that the choreographer and the
music director had done research in deciding on the ragas as
indicated here: 1. Raudra - Atana ; 2. Bhayanaka -
Lavangi; 3. Adbhuta - Vasanta; 4. Bhibatsa - Varali;
5. Vira - Amritavarshani; 6. Karuna - Dwijavanti;
7. Hasyam - Kadanakuthuhalam; 8. Sringara - Meghmalhar;
and 9. Santa - Revati. This writer heard Lavangi for the first time.
He learnt from Ananda that it was a creation of Balamurali Krishna. The
dancing was Bharatanatyam-based with some elements of fusion with other
styles. Thus, for example, in sringara, the nayaka lifted
the nayika into the air like in a ballet but it jelled with the
rest of the movements in a seamless manner. The adavus, utplavanas,
chakkars, etc., made it a fine experience for the artiste and the audience
The orchestra lent superb support to the whole programme. Members were: I V Renuka Prasad (nattuvangam), Venu Madhav (vocal), T P Balasubramaniam (mridangam), Sai Kumar (violin) and Shrikant (percussion). Purna Chandrashekar took good care of stage and lights. Particularly outstanding was the vocalist Venu Madhav. His resonant and sruti-aligned singing in the first session was so good that when a musical interlude was announced, rasikas did not take it as a signal for a coffee break. They remained in their seats and listened to a beautiful rendition of an Annamacharya kriti in Shanmukhapriya. It was a mini kutcheri complete with alapanai, niraval, swaram and ornamentations like brigas. This writer appreciated, in particular, his rendering of Varali earlier. It is relatively a difficult raga to sing. Gandharam and madhyamam need to be treated in a delicate way with the correct frequencies leaving little margins for errors. Its madhyamam is of higher frequency than prati madhyamam and close to panchamam. This is a special characteristic that brings out the swarupa of the raga. Venkatamakhi called it Varali madhyamam.
In the ultimate
analysis, the success of the programme illustrated the concept of synergy
or synergism. It is defined as the combined effect being more than the
sum of the individual effects as in the case of medicines, organs, etc.
It is a case of two plus two becoming more than four! A typical example
is the use of fertilisers to increase agricultural production. Each of
the nutrients, viz., nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous, has an individual
positive effect on the soil and the output, when used alone. But when they
are used together in an appropriate mix, the combined result is more than
the sum of the individual ones due to the additional interaction effect.
We see this also in team sports like soccer or cricket. However good the
individual sportsman may be, the group cannot succeed if there is no cohesion
and teamwork. Otherwise it would be a case of two and two adding up to
three! Ananda’s programme succeeded well because of the excellent and devoted
teamwork on the part of all the participants, those on the stage, on the
wings and behind the scene.
The author, an Economic Consultant in Mumbai, is a music and dance buff.