An aesthetic journey
- Satish Suri
Photo: Gabriel Hart

May 22, 2013

Uma Govind stepped on to the stage brimming with confidence, to give a solo Bharatanatyam performance under the aegis of the Horizon series of ICCR on 11th May at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore.

Nurtured by her guru Mydhili Venkatachalam for several years, Uma opened her performance with a stuthi on Surya, who is considered as the visible form of the divine seen by everyone. Surya is represented as the god of intelligence and wisdom. Surya is seen riding a single wheeled cart with seven horses. Interspersed with verses from Aditya Hridyam, this piece describes the glory of Surya in ragam Surya set to misrachapu taalam. This was followed by a Swati Tirunal composition “Janani, Mamava meye,” one of the Navarathri kritis in praise of Devi in ragam Bhairavi and tisra triputa talam. The piece describes the Mother (Janani) who resides in the lotus which is incomparable, praised by the munivara (sages) and the one who protects those who take refuge in her.

In the varnam “Nee intha jaalam seyalamo sakhiye,” the nayika is very candid about her feelings and the anguish of waiting for her beloved Lord Muruga. “Why is he tormenting me? I am unable to bear the arrows of cupid. Bring him to me,” she tells the sakhi. In raga Hamsanandi and adi talam, a composition of Thrisur Jananardhan, the varnam was aesthetically explored. Various dimensions and bhavas within the composition were depicted with excellent technique. The dancer displayed her virtuosity with graceful movements and good command over nritta and abhinaya, but the seductive sensuality associated in the composition could have been expressed with more verve and vitality.

The varnam was followed by a stuthi “Paarka paarka paravasam agudhe Sri Padmanabha,” a composition of Madurai R Muralidharan in Karaharapriya raga, misrachapu talam. It explores the various attributes of Padmanabha. Parthasarathy giving the Gitophadesham to Arjuna and the conquest of the serpent Kalinga by Lord Krishna are enacted in this piece. The abhinaya needed some punch to raise the bar of qualitative expression. In the javali “Parulluanna maata namma vadhu prananayaka,” a composition of Dharmapuri Subbraya Iyer in Kapi raga, the artiste expressed effectively the variegated sentiments and shades of emotion in this satirical piece. She concluded her program with a tillana in ragam Valachi, a composition of Madurai Muralidharan.

Hariprasad on the vocals was at his majestic best. The flow of sahitya and swaras, caressing the movements as it were of the artiste, the subtle play of the fingers of Venkatesan Vedakrishnaram on the mridangam evoking the rhythmic syllables, the lilting strains of violin of Vijayaraghavan, the creative choreography and nattuvangam of Guru Mydhili Venkatachalam blended with harmony to enhance the aesthetic values of the performance.

Satish Suri has been an ardent follower of dance and music for more than 40 years, starting with being on  the committee of the International Music and Arts Society founded by Vijaya Devi, sister of the Late Maharaja of Mysore, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar and now presently is treasurer of World Dance Alliance Karnataka Chapter. He has presented several artistes, both dancers and musicians, over the last 40 years.