Maanini - The expression of love
- Rashmi Thaper
Photos courtesy: The Kirans

November 24, 2015

Maanini, the nine damsels created magic on the stage and the Lord Brahma who created them was none other than renowned Guru Kiran Subramanyam. The amalgamation of different styled dancers executing a single vision was extraordinary. Guru Kiran is known for his complex nritta, however in Maanini it was impossible to determine if nritta was the highlight or the abhinaya. Both stood equal and of high standard.

'Aarambh,' the origin of Natyaveda was truly a beautiful beginning taking us back to our mythology. The syllables of Alarippu in conjunction with variety of bhedas was remarkable. Following Aarambh was the main piece that stole the show, the varnam of the famous composer Dandayudhapani Pillai. Most often we dance portraying the emotion of a single nayika, but inclusion of different moods of nayika i.e. the Ashtanayika in a single piece was the seed that germinated in Kiranís thought which gave rise to Maanini- the expression of love.

The selection of artistes as each nayika was apt. However the challenge for the heroine was to execute all the moods of the nayika and Rasikaís mature artist Shivaranjani was truly remarkable who did justice to her role thus uplifting the varnam to the next level. In the traditional varnams often the stayi is lost while we move from sahitya to performing the jathis. But here the jathis were well choreographed and went in sync with the mood of nayika which was commendable.

'Laya Lavanya' was indeed a grand finale. Complex korvais with all the mathematics yet simple steps, gave it a grand ending. The vision and the choreography is best seen when it is executed well and kudos to the beautiful artists Preethi Bharadwaj, Sneha Devanand, Shruthi Gopal, Matangi Prasana, Shivaranjani Harish, Aparna Shastry, Aranya Narain, Prathibha Ramaswamy and Rasika Kiran.

The soulful music rendered by the well known musicians Debur Srinivasan Srivatsa on vocal, Lingaraju Lee on mridangam, Mahesh Swamy on flute, Veena Santhosh on veena, Pranav Dath on rhythm pads and the icing on cake was nattuvanar Guru Kiran Subramanyam. Lights create the moods, not to forget the wonderful lighting by Nagraj.T which added beauty to Maanini. And as Guru Kiran quoted, "After a certain point it was only the dance that was seen."

Maanini was presented on November 20, 2015 at ADA Ranga Mandira, Bangalore.

Rashmi Thaper is a Bharatanatyam artiste and director of Nritya Sinchana.