Anuradha Venkatraman’s tribute to Maharaja Swati Tirunal
- Satish Suri

April 29, 2013

Anuradha Venkatraman, a student of Saroja Vaidyanathan, gave a solo performance on 20th April at Seva Sadan, Bangalore, as a tribute to Maharaja Swati Tirunal on the occasion of his 200th birth anniversary. The pushpanjali was followed by a slokam describing the 4th day utsava prabhandham at Padmanambha Temple. Here, Swati Tirunal describes Lord Padmanabha as the lord of goddess Lakshmi, whose eyes are beautiful as the lotus. He is prayed to by all devas and looks resplendent as he is carried in a palanquin led by Indra.
The Varnam she chose was the regal composition in Sanskrit “Dani samajendra Gamini.” Here the nayika is in love with Lord Padmanabha. She tells her friend that his gait is like that of a majestic elephant. “In this beautiful time of spring, I feel only the pain of separation. The humming bees, the cuckoo birds in loving embrace, the lovely moonlight all remind me of my lord. I am the only one separated in this time of union. Please bring my lord whose speech is sweet as honey,” entreats the nayika. There was a measured grace with which the varnam was delineated, the tempo slow, executed with clean lines and geometry. A perfect aramandi, technique and skillful handling of the jatis composed by Lalgudi R Ganesh showed her competence as she went through the paces of movement. One felt there could have been more verve and vitality in the nattuvangam.

This was followed by a Bhajan, another composition of Swati Tirunal in ragam Dhanasri and roopaka tala. It was in praise of Shiva who holds the mighty Ganga in his tresses and goddess Parvati in his own body. Majestically riding the bull and protecting his devotees, he is the one who burnt Kama and is also the benevolent one. He resides in the heart of Lord Padmanabha. Her virtuosity in abhinaya was clearly in evidence. Anuradha concluded with a thillana in ragam Bhoopalam and adi Talam, a composition of Dr. Balamurali Krishna and rhythm composition by Lalgudi R Ganesh.

She was well supported by Karthick Hebbar on the vocals, Vivek Krishna on the flute Lalgudi R Ganesh on the mridangam and Prema Sridhar on the nattuvangam.

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.