“Sreelatha’s Silappadikaaram” - Performance par excellence 
- R Krishnamurthy, Chennai
e-mail: r_krish_us@yahoo.com 

December 15, 2004

A houseful Kalakshetra auditorium sat spellbound, not realizing the bygone two hours. An amazing performance of story telling with just one male and a female dancers of exemplary caliber.  Sreelatha Vinod proved truly the chip of the old block. True to her guru’s ideals and ideas, Sreelatha’s dancing and choreographical skill surpasses any contemporary productions of value. Silappadikaaram - a classical literature - was aptly treated as a classical treat to both ears and eyes. The tunes set to the Tamizh classic by a veteran singer Hariprasad (Kalakshetra) certainly deserve applause for keeping in tune with the tradition of Kalakshetra and Bharatakalanjali. The exemplary orchestra led by Hariprasad consisting of stalwarts like Rameshbabu, (Mridangam & other effects), Kalaiarasan (Violin), Sunil Kumar (Flute) and Nattuvangam by M S Sukhi of Kalakshetra, gave life to the whole evening’s program. Unlike the usual Kalakshetra audio system, the music and the words were clear like in a CD recording. (Later this reviewer found out that Madhu Viswanathan - a professional audio recording Engineer handled the audio).  The audience hash hashed, “We wish all the Chennai Sabhas have such good audio systems handled by professionals like Madhu Viswanathan”. 

The dancers - Unnikrishnan and Sreelatha, changed their roles as Sutradharan, Kovalan, and King of Madhura, & Kannagi, Madhavi and Sutradhari respectively with simple suggestive change in their attire. The conception and the time taken to changing the costumes back and forth were very effective and impressive. 

As far as the powerful and communicative Bharatanatyam by Sreelatha is concerned, this writer can emphatically say Sreelatha could be passed off as the best Bharatanatyam dancer of this generation.  None to match her dexterity, immaculate technique, exemplary stage presence, endowed with expressive eyes, fit and flexible physics and aesthetic taste for color and costumes. 

Unnikrishnan - though a Kalakshetra graduate – has imbibed a great deal from the Dhananjayans. He matched well with Sreelatha’s immaculate technical perfection, but fell short of the heart touching expression of Sreelatha. Sreelatha has truly imbibed the communicative expression of guru Dhananjayan and the technical perfection of guru Shanta Dhananjayan. 

The lighting could have been handled well, but one may not know what difficulties go on behind stage. The Kalakshetra ambiance lent itself to the enhancement of the whole evening’s program. As rightly pointed out by Vinod (Sreelatha’s husband) in his very crisp and measured words of introduction, the best auditorium for Bharatanatyam in India is certainly the Bharata Kalakshetra in Chennai, Thiruvanmiyur.