Vasundharotsava: A memorable dance and music festival
- Sudha Harish, Mysore

November 15, 2011

On September 16, 2011, an eight day classical music and dance festival titled VASUNDHAROTSAVA was inaugurated by Dr. KS Rangappa, Vice Chancellor of K.S.O.U, Mysore. The other chief guests were Prof. Mallepuram G Venkatesh, Vice-Chancellor, Karnataka Sanskrit University, Bangalore and Prof. George S Paul, musicologist and senior art critic, Kerala, presided by KV Murthy, industrialist and President of Vasundharotsava 2010-11.

The veterans Pt Rajeev Taranath and Pt Partha Chatterjee were felicitated with conventional shawl, sandal garland, memento and citation for their yeomen service to their chosen art field. The jugalbandi of sarod and sitar for two hours, kept the audience spellbound. It was proved beyond doubt that they are the “music millionaires.”
Pt. Rajeev Taranath
The second day featured the presentation of saxophone by young artist P Guruprasad of Srirangapatna, whose recitation was pleasing and effective. Dr. Narmada, daughter of vidwan MSG was felicitated by vidwan S Mahadevappa, a violin wizard of Karnataka. Narmada’s soul searching violin recital featured rare and popular ragas to keep the audience intact. She was supported by Ravishankar on mridanga and Dr. Ramanujam on ghatam.

On 18th, the third day, junior artiste MA Karthik won the heart of music rasikas with his melodious rendering of Carnatic music. Later, vidwan Anil Murthy of Bangalore was felicitated by BS Ramanuja Iyengar, President of Ganabharathi, Mysore. Anil Murthy’s concert was of high standard. He chose rarest of rare compositions and concluded with state anthem “Kayou Sri Gowri” of erstwhile Mysore Maharaja. He was accompanied by veteran mridangist Annur Ananthakrishna Sharma, HK Narasimhamurty on violin and Shashi Shankar on ghatam.

On 19th, there were two performances of male dancers. Sandesh Bhargav commenced his Bharatanatyam performance with conventional invocatory piece Pushpanjali and continued with “Mahadeva Shiva Shambo.” In this, he executed perfect footwork, akin to striking jathis by Guru Vasundhara Doraswamy. His forte is nritta. The second unique item from Kuchipudi idiom was by Vedantam Venkata Nagachalapathy Rao. He chose ‘Bhamakalapam’ in a female role. The traditional Kuchipudi was a treat to watch.

On the fifth day, Deepthi Phanibhushan presented Bharatanatyam. In the varnam composition of Lalgudi Jayaraman, she presented neat footwork and showed pleasing abhinaya. She was accompanied by her Guru Vasundhara Doraswamy (nattuvangam), Balasubramanya Sharma (vocal), Hanumantharaju (mridangam) and Narayan (violin).

The senior dance guru and performer Seema Jawahar commenced her recital with Guruvandana. The next item was varnam in Raga Vallachi set to tala adi composed by veteran dance critic and musicologist, late Subbudu. The story line involving Valli and Devayani was showcased beautifully by Seema, so that even a layman could grasp it easily. Her nritta followed to perfect jathis elevated the status of the performance to new heights. The third item javali in Kanada was full of shringara. She impressed rasikas with her sublime abhinaya. She was accompanied by Vasundhara Doraswamy on nattuvangam, Shivashankaraswamy on mridangam, Balasubramanya on vocal and Rakesh on flute.
Dr. Vasundhara Doraswamy
Vedantam Venkata Naga Chalapathy Rao

On 21st, the sixth day of silver jubilee ongoing program commenced with Bharatanatyam of Radhika S Prabhu, presently pursuing her art under the guidance of Guru Kiran Subramanyam of Bangalore.  Her abhinaya dominated program mesmerized the rasikas. Her javali presentation was novel and pleasing. Nattuvangam by Prasanna, vocal by Balasubramanya Sharma, mridangam by Chandrashekar, and flute by Rakesh added grace and beauty to the program.

Sparsha Shenoy, one of the gifted disciples of Vasundhara Doraswamy, presented items from Bharatanatyam  repertoire. Her nritta in the varnam “Devadhi Deva Nataraja” in ragam Shanmukhapriya kept the audience engrossed. The navarasa presentation in the course of the varnam was precise and beautiful. Her ‘Bagilanu Teredu’ of Saint Kanakadasa was full of satvika abhinaya and devotion. She scored equally in nritta and abhinaya. She concluded her recital with tillana. Ramesh Chadaga on vocal, apt nattuvangam and jathis by Vasundhara Doraswamy, mridangam by Shivashankaraswamy and violin by Tandavamurthy added charm to the performance. 

On 22nd, Dr. Sukanya Prabhakar was felicitated by Dr. CG Narasimhan for her yeomen service to Carnatic music. S Sangeetha, disciple of Sukanya Prabhakar gave a pleasing Carnatic vocal concert and chose popular items that stole the hearts of music lovers. She is a puritan. She commenced her recital with Ootukadu Venkatasubbaiyer’s composition “Sri Vignarajam Bhaje” in a befitting manner. She sang this composition in vilamb tala which is very rare. RN Doreswamy’s composition (sangeetha, sahitya, nrithya, vinutana) was impressive.  Muthuswamy Deekshitar’s “Sri Santana Gopalakrishna” was soulfully rendered. She was accompanied by Ramanujam on mridangam, HK Narasimhamurthy on violin and Ramesh on ghatam, who gave suitable support.

The valedictory of Vasundharotsava was presided over by KV Murthy and the chief guests were Dr. PS Filliozat from Paris and BR Pai, Managing Trustee, Vijay Foundation. The program concluded with ‘Bhavayami Raghuramam’ which was choreographed and conceived by Dr. Vasundhara Doraswamy for the occasion and presented by her fourteen disciples in a thrilling manner. The entire Ramayana right from birth, childhood, youth, protecting yaga from demons, Ahalya shaapa vimochana, Sita swayamvara, Vanavasa, Shurpanaka gharvabhanga, Maricha vadha, Sita apaharana, war between Rama and Ravana, Sita agnipravesha, Sri Rama Pattabhiheka etc. were depicted with fine nritta, nrithya, sancharis and abhinaya. Each one excelled in their allotted role. Varija as Manthare, Sparsha, Tanushree, Vidyarani, Srilakshmi, Manasa and Chinmaya Hegde were able to attract the rasikas with their perfect characterization. The abhang “Ganesh Bappa Moria” was entertaining since it was in folk style. The concluding tillana by the entire troupe was colourful and graceful. Vasundhara Doraswamy on nattuvangam, Ramesh Chadaga on vocal, Hanumantharaju on mridangam, Narayan on violin, Krishna Prasad on flute added beauty and dignity to ‘Bhavayami Raghuramam.’