Kruthika makes it a class apart
Text & pic: Hareesh N Nampoothiri

September 26, 2013

Onam is a time when the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram is filled with a lot of cultural activities and it is always hard to pick one from the handful of programs happening simultaneously at different venues. For those who chose to come for the concluding event of Ponnonakkazhcha, one of the major segment of this year's Onam celebrations, had a wonderful time watching the Bharatanatyam recital of Kruthika B. Jayakumar. Kruthika jumped in the air, spun on the floor and covered the length and breadth of the stage as she sketched the beautiful choreographic patterns based on the Vazhuvoor school of Bharatanatyam, set by her guru Mithun Shyam.

An energetic Kruthika opened her recital with a pushpanjali in Gambheera Nattai followed by the Ganesha Sthuthi, Gajavadana Karunasadana set in Sriranjani. The brisk movements laced with sculpture poses of Vazhuvoor bani were ably brought to life by Kruthika in this introductory piece itself. She chose to perform Aadi Sivane, a composition by Dandayuthapani Pillai set to raga Todi in adi tala, as the central piece. The composition gives the dancer enough chances to showcase her skill in adavus as well as abhinaya. Kruthika impressed the viewers with her swift footwork for the beautifully choreographed jathis and was equally good in bringing out the emotional state of the nayika, who longs for a glimpse of Lord Shiva.

Baro Krishnayya (Ragamalika / adi), a composition by Kanaka Dasa praising Lord Krishna and Muthuswami Dikshitar's Kanjadalayadakshi (Kamalamanohari / adi) in praise of Goddess Kamakshi were the next two items presented. Be it the portrayal of playful Krishna in the former piece or the graceful goddess Kamakshi in the latter, Kruthika's expressions appeared natural and postures echoed elegance. Maybe the choreography of these were a bit more energy draining than the usual ones following a varnam as her face revealed some signs of tiring at times. But she managed very well to keep the momentum going.

Swathi Thirunal's Panimathimukhi Bale, set in Aahiri and adi, was the next item presented and is all about a lovelorn heroine, who is deeply in love with Lord Padmanabha. Though the sthayi is sringara, the padam allows the dancer to glide through a gamut of emotions. The way Kruthika portrayed the pathetic state of the nayika underlined her dexterity in handling the abhinaya pieces. She concluded her recital with the Dhanasri thillana of Swathi and Tamboori Meetidava, a short composition of Purandara Dasa, as mangalam.

Mithun Shyam excelled in his role of nattuvanar. Not only that he was precise in delivering the jathiswaras, he also brought some modulation in the voice which essentially made them sound unique. Ramesh Chadaga (vocal) and Sreeraj Thrikodithanam (violin) were the other two accompanying artistes. Dancers coming from outside the state often find it more feasible to arrange the percussionist locally. The downside is that, even an experienced percussionist like Changanassery Satheesh Kumar finds it difficult to follow the dancer with precision as one would expect from performances like these. The problem surfaced here as well in a few places but Satheesh did manage to deliver well during the jugalbandi sequence which was presented as part of the final thillana.

The program was jointly organized by the Dept. of Tourism, Govt. of Kerala and Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan, Thiruvananthapuram and was presented by Vaishnavi Natyasala, Bengaluru.

Hareesh N Nampoothiri is a visual design consultant by profession and a lover of classical art forms. Being an ardent follower of Kathakali, he conceptualized and directed a documentary on Kathakali titled 'Thouryathrikam,' which introduces the nuances of Kathakali to the common man. Writing and photography are his other passions.