Navia Natarajan: An artistic journey
- Satish Suri
Photos: Shandilya Srivatsa

January 27, 2015

Navia Natarajan, encapsulated the dynamics and grace of Bharatanatyam in a performance which she presented on 13th Jan at ADA Rangamandira, Bangalore, under the auspices of VRC Academy of dance and music.

Her opening sequence ‘Parashakti’ extolling the tantalising beauty and greatness of the goddess, delineated through verses from Navaratnamalika Sthotram of Adi Sankaracharya and Lalithopaakyaanam of Somadeva Sharma, set to music by Debur Srivatsa brought alive  the poses of the various forms of the goddess, the epitome of power and beauty which mesmerises the devotee. Deft footwork, rhythmic punctuation and a colourful attire added visual imagery to the presentation.

Prelude to the varnam, verses from the Thiruthandagam of Thirunavukkarasu were used to convey the adoration of the nayika from an early age, her detachment from worldly life and who against all conventions left her home to surrender to Lord Tyagesa of Tiruvarur. The opening statement of the varnam “Mohamana en meedhu nee inda velayil modi seyyalama en saami,” the classic composition of Ponniah Pillai, speaks of the besotted nayika who sees and hears in everything around her only Tyagesa for whom she pines. Grace, precision and sensitivity heralded the description of the myriad manifestations of Tyagesa.

The artist’s sensitive emoting face, matched by a body line wove a rich tapestry of emotions. Crisp geometry of lines and full extensions, and rhythmic syllables matched the beautiful music it was set to, resonating with the audience, as she elaborated on the agony of the love struck heroine battling to avoid the arrows of Manmatha with clear and impeccable technical virtuosity. The teermanams, intense and subtle, ornamented the performance. The final statement with the thrust of shringara “Anubhogham seyyavaa” as the nayika finally surrenders, was dignified and evocative.

The artist concluded with a padam “Eeganum vara vara,” a composition of Kavi Kunjara Bharathi in Kalyani raga and misra chapu tala, giving her ample opportunity to explore her strength of abhinaya.

Excellent vocal support with G. Skrikanth on the vocals, Mahesh Swamy on the flute, Janardan Rao on the mridangam and Prasanna on the nattuvangam complimented the performance.

An engineer by profession, Satish Suri is a life member of the International Music and Arts Society, an alternative healer and therapist through energy management and a spiritual guide for meditators.