Impressive performances at Nalli Aadi Natya Festival

July 23, 2015

A picture of grace, elegance and poise, and a tremendous stage presence, Samyuktha Narayan, a senior disciple of Guru Rhadha, delighted the audience with a splendid  Bharatanatyam recital at the commencement of Nalli Aadi Natya Festival of Brahma Gana Sabha at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium, Chennai, on 17th July.

Samyuktha commenced the recital with a krithi on goddess Saraswathi, preceded by a sloka Yakundendu thushara hara tavala. She went on to perform the central piece, the evergreen Nathanai azhaithodi vaa sakiye in ragam Kambodhi mellifluously rendered by Nandini Anand. The jathis were immaculately executed with finesse and grace to the sarvalagu of Vedakrishna Ram. Samyuktha excelled in abhinaya for Vedhanai tuyar ini naan sakhiye replete with viraga dabam.  The mel kala jathi at the commencement of charanam Nadhopadesam arulvay sundarar ariya was performed with elan by Samyuktha drawing a long round of applause.

The padam section was very interesting with age-old Aduvum soluval in Sourastram and Samyuktha was at her best in the lines tannai vida bagyasali kidaiyadu endru ennam aachu taniya yirunda valku dhadhi margal undachu aptly compered earlier by Preethi Athreya, an exponent of Bharatanatyam and Indian contemporary dance. Next piece was Taye Yasodha in Thodi. Abhinaya for the well known lines  Balan endru tavi anaithen anaitha ennai malai yitavan pol vaayil mutham itaandi....  was well portrayed.  The last line of the next charanam  where Krishna showed the entire universe to Yasoda reminded one of  Jagadodaraka namma Udipi Sri Krishna.... in Krishna nee begane, lifted to sublime heights by the one and only Balasaraswathi.

The recital concluded with a Mohanakalyani thillana of violin maestro Lalgudi G Jayaraman. Samyuktha could not have asked for a better set of accompanying artists than Nandini Anand on vocal, Jayasri Ramanathan on the cymbals, Vedakrishna Ram on percussion, Sruthi Sagar on flute, B. Ananthakrishnan on violin, the last two having carved out a niche for themselves at such a young age. The audience left with an impression that they could not have spent a better evening than attending Samyuktha’s recital.

One wondered whether it was a tribute to the Lalgudi clan or an offering to the lord of dance, Nataraja. Soumya Tilak, who had her debut in 1999 under the guidance of her guru Vijay Madhavan, who performed the arangetram of a disciple at the young age of 23 at that time, presented a very convincing recital on the third day of the Nalli Aadi Natya Festival on 19th July.

Soumya commenced her recital with a virutham from Kandan Alankaram followed by Kumara Guruguha in Shanmughapriya, which proved a good start. She took up the main item, the magnum opus of the violin maestro Lalgudi G. Jayaraman, Angayyarkanni aanandam kondale in Ragamalika, each raga depicting a different face of navarasas. Commencing with veeram and concluding with shantham, all the facets of Meenakshi's youthful life depicting her exploits were well captured by Soumya. Vijay Madhavan excels in his choreography and rightly was awarded the title Narthaka Nipuna by ABHAI for his imaginative choreography. Soumya did full justice to the expectations of her guru, deftly executing the complicated adavu patterns. Vijay enjoys every pattern of the jathis and becomes one with the percussion and the artist.

Next came the maestro's father Gopal Iyer’s krithi in Mohanakalyani, Thamadam Thagadayya, very beautifully sung by Mumbai G. Shilpa, herself a disciple of the maestro and portrayed effectively by Soumya. The concluding thillana in Maand, very famous both in music and dance arenas, provided a fitting finale for Soumya’s brilliant performance. Vijay Madhavan wielding the cymbals, Mumbai G. Shilpa on the vocal, Nagai Narayanan on the percussion, M.S. Kannan on the violin and Gokul on the flute enormously embellished Soumya’s excellent recital.

The presence of Lalgudi GJR Krishnan in the audience lent a great amount of dignity to the entire recital. Soumya, who lives in San Jose, USA, and makes it a point to be a part of the December festival every year, holds enormous promise and is an artist to watch out for.