Krithika Sridhar makes her dance debut  
- T S Gopal, Chennai 
- Padmini Priyadarshini, Dubai 

May 22, 2006 

Krithika Sridhar, a student of grade XII and disciple of guru Melattur S Natarajan, gave a confident arangetram performance on the 21st April 2006 at the Indian Consulate Auditorium in Dubai. Krithika began her recital with the traditional Pushpanjali followed by Ganeshanjali in the Raga Gambeera Naattai. This was followed by a Shabdam in Ragamalika. The Shabdam "Aaru Mughamum Eeraru Karamum" on the myriad attributes of Lord Muruga was noteworthy both for the soul-stirring rendition of the song steeped with bhakti by Late Madurai Sethuraman and for the abhinaya exposition which slowly brought Krithika's potential into focus.  

The evening's concert then moved on to the piece de resistance for a Bharatanatyam artiste the Varnam. The Varnam "Konjum Salangai" in Raga Lathangi tested Krithika's mettle in both the rhythmic patterns of her footwork and abhinaya. She came into her own in this piece and ably demonstrated intricate and nimble footwork expected of the piece as also the nuances of the abhinaya. 

The evening performance transcended to an emotive plane where bhakthi expressed through bhava and abhinaya took precedence over the technical nuances of Bharatanatyam. "Paarka Paarka" in Raga Karaharapriya, set the mood of the moment and with grace, Krithika brought out the ecstatic state of joy of being with Lord Padmanabha. More so, the padams set by guru Natarajan came alive with all its bhava in some passages especially one that depicts the Lord riding the chariot for Arjuna in his Krishnavataram. The piece was followed by the popular "Srichakraraja simhasane," the Raagamalika popularized by Maharajapuram Santhanam in his concerts. 

However, the padam which stole the show and hearts of the audience was "Krishna Nee Begane" in Yamuna Kalyani. This is a very popular piece with many dancers since it has ample scope for expressing different facial emotions. As if emotionally one with the mood of the song, Krithika depicted the pranks of a child and the interplay of emotions between the mother and child with divergent emotions ranging from vatsalaya to krodha. This piece was a happy union of the heart and art. Watching young Krithika perform and her variety of emotions for the neraval "jagadhodharaka" took one back in time to Balasaraswathi who sang and danced for this song. What was innovative and reflected the genius of Krithika's guru was that the episodes the neraval depicted were different from those chosen by Bala. But the emphasis in both cases was on Bhakthi bhava. 

The evening ended with a vigorous display of a thillana in Raga Amritavarshini, and what followed the piece was a shower of applause from the large appreciative gathering. 

If Krithika's innate talent and potential was displayed with professional precision, it was entirely attributable to her guru. Melattur Natarajan's care and devotion to the art manifested through his sishya that evening.