Bharatanatyam recital by Keerthana Ravi
- Satish Suri

April 16, 2013

Keerthana Ravi, a student of Padmini Ramchandran, gave a solo Bharatanatyam recital on 6th April at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore. She started with the traditional Pushpanjali which was followed by an Annamacharya’s keertana “Sriman Narayana” where the dancer describes the beauty of Venkateswara, the Lord of the Seven Hills, at whose lotus feet she surrenders. Also enacted is Krishna giving the Geetopadesam to Arjuna when he is disinclined to take to the battle field to fight his own kith and kin. 

The signature of the Vazhavur Bani was evident in the Varnam “Mohamana en meedhil nee inda velayil,” a composition of Ponniah Pillai set to roopaka tala in raga Bhairavi. Punctuated with excellent nritta and abhinaya, Keertana explored the dimension of sringara and bhakti in the delineation of the Varnam. Besotted with the Lord, the nayika says, “At such a beautiful time when the season is in full bloom, how could you be so indifferent towards me?” The sensuality associated with the sringara aspect was aesthetically defined in the presentation. The choreography of the piece and the jathis skillfully handled by her guru Padmini Ramachandran who handled the nattuvangam with her characteristic hyperbole of a pitch embellished the delineation. Her guru upped the ante as she goaded the vocalist Ramesh Chadaga to step up the tempo and Keerthana responded with virtuosity and skill to the rhythmic syllables that pervaded the performance.

Her next piece was a devarnama “Krishnaa nee begane baro” in raga Yaman Kalyan and misrachapu tala which highlighted the vatsalya bhava of a mother and child. Yashodha soon recognizes that the child is none other than the Jaggadhodharana residing at Udupi. Keerthana depicted the piece in an innovative way, a departure from the usual way it is presented.  Krishna is seen entering the stage crawling on all fours. The Neeli padam in praise of Kali exploring the valour and vibrancy of Devi is a composition of Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar. This bhakti oriented poem was performed with a great deal of virtuosity and the emotive power of the artiste was in full flow with the depiction of the ugra roopa of Kali.

Following this was the Kshetrayya Padam “Moggudu vacchi pillichedu.” Here, the parakeeya nayika’s inner conflict between her duty to the husband and her beloved Venugopala is seen. She tells Krishna to leave as her husband has returned and says, “Na preeti maravakku ra.” “Though the physical separation torments me, my love will stand the test of time,” says the nayika. Keerthana concluded her program with a tillana, a composition of Dr. Balamuralikrishna in Kadanakutoohala raga and adi tala. Brisk footwork and dynamic movements characterized the depiction of this piece.

She was ably supported by her music ensemble with Guru Padmini Ramchandran on the nattuvangam, Ramesh Chadaga on the vocals, Narayanaswamy on the mridangam and Natraj Murthy on the violin.

Satish Suri has been an ardent follower of dance and music for more than 40 years, starting with being on  the committee of the International Music and Arts Society founded by Vijaya Devi, sister of the Late Maharaja of Mysore, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar and now presently is treasurer of World Dance Alliance Karnataka Chapter. He has presented several artistes, both dancers and musicians, over the last 40 years.