Enthralling and thought-provoking performances at Ananya Nruthya Neerajana 2022
– Kavya Kasinathan
Ananya Nruthya Neerajana 2022 commenced on Friday, December 9th 2022 and culminated on Sunday, December 11th 2022. The cool and rainy weather prevalent during the three-day festival was filled with the warmth of love, appreciation and gratitude of the art family at Seva Sadan.
Day 1 commenced with a grand felicitation and award presentation to two eminent musicians who are pillars of support to the dance fraternity. Vid. Balasubramanya Sharma and Vid. Srihari Rangaswamy were conferred with the Ananya Puraskara for the year 2022 for their immense contributions to the field of dance music. As the guests, Vid. HS Venugopal and Smt. Jyothi Raghuram pointed out, their exemplary work stands as a testimony of their proficiency and their humble personality sets them as role models for every artist.
The award ceremony was followed by a graceful Odissi recital by Vid. Arushi Mudgal. She began her performance with a devotional “Kamala” invoking the presence of Goddess Mahalakshmi and praying to her for graciousness and spiritual enlightenment. She then moved on to present three expressive compositions exploring the emotions of hurt, anger, love and Vatsalyam. Through Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra’s choreography of the Ashtapadi “Yahi Madhava”, she depicted Radha as a Khandita Nayika who is hurt and angered by the flirting ways of her beloved Krishna. She then presented an Abhinay penned by Sri Venudhar and choreographed by her Guru, Smt. Madhavi Mudgal. Here, she depicted a bashful Radha who coyly recounts to her friend the bliss that she enjoyed with Krishna. She moved on to present a heart wrenching composition describing a distressed Kausalya conversing with her son, Rama, before he leaves to the forest. Vid. Arushi painted these emotions with intense depth that connected with every Rasika present. She concluded with a pure dance piece communicating the joy of dance, melody and rhythm.
The evening’s concluding dance presentation was by senior dancer Vid. Janaki Rangarajan. Through two unique compositions she seamlessly took each of us through the realms of joy, love, longing, sorrow, pain and anger. Beginning with a traditional varnam in Raga Manohari composed by Sri Shivanandam of the Tanjavur Quartet, she depicted a lovelorn Nayika who pleads with Tanjai Brihadeeshwara to show a glimpse of his magnanimous form to her. With befitting similes and metaphors inculcated in the interpretation of the Sahitya, she depicted a Nayika who chides the indifference of the “Krupasagara” and requests him to give her a merciful glance as well. The jathis composed by Sri Vijaykumar, brimmed with vibrance, agile movements and rhythmic calculations that sent across waves of thrills to the audience every single time. She concluded with a heart wrenching story of an orphan who lost her parents during the Sri Lankan Civil War, drawing inspiration from a Sinhala poem by Mahesh Munasinghe titled “Bindunu Pottu”. With a nuanced understanding and portrayal, she captured the pain and reality of wars showing its impact on lives of normal people.
The first day culminated on a thought provoking and rejuvenated mood with everyone looking forward to being a part of the following days of the festival as well.
The Ananya Puraskara was presented to three legendary dance gurus on Day 2 of the festival. Guru Chitra Visveswaran, Guru Shama Bhate and Guru Vasundhara Doraswamy were felicitated and awarded for their passionate and unending contributions to the arts.
The second day also treated the rasikas to Vid. Navia Natarajan’s deft and immersive performance and Vid. Shama Bhate’s nuanced and stellar Khathak presentation “Govindam Bhajatare”.
Vid. Navia Natarajan began her presentation with a composition that she termed “The rising’. Verses from Sri Hari Stotram and Srimad Bhagavatham were inculcated in this piece through which she depicted Bhoodevi pulsating with life and glorifying the deeds of Varaha. She presented Varaha as the essence, the only constant, in a world of variables. She then moved on to present the popular varnam “Amma Ananda Dayini”, an evergreen composition of Dr. Balamurali Krishna. Here, she described Devi as the fire of energy who lives within all of us. She concluded her presentation with “Yashodara Vilapam”. A choreography of Smt. Bragha Bessell, through this composition, the audiences were made privy to the heart wrenching lament of Buddha’s wife.
Vid. Shama Bhate presented “Govindam Bhajatare” which consisted of a Vandana, Tumri and a Bhajan. The Vandana described several attributes of Krishna and set a meditative mood to the entire presentation. The Tumri depicted two types of relationship. The first half described a dialogue between Radha and her mother and the second half was a dialogue between Radha and Krishna. She brought out a pallette of emotions ranging from Vatsalyam to Sringaram and Roudram through the expressive Tumri. The concluding Bhajan described a Krishna who preferred Vrindanavan in comparison to Vaikunta. Vid. Shama Bhate portrayed a Krishna who enjoyed the comforts of river Jamuna and the Kadamba tree than the milky oceans of Vaikunta. She depicted the Krishna who connected with a place where he could spend time with Gopis and his mother Yashoda while also being with his dear cows and joyfully play the flute.
Her captivating Abhinaya had an impactful conversational flavour and her presentation was filled with several awestruck moments. From the very costume that she had worn, to the ideas interwoven in the presentation to her immpecable footwork movements and her stage presence, her presentation ended the second day on a spiritual note.
The final day was power-packed with enthralling Bharatanatyam performances by four seasoned artists. The vigorous performance by the effervescent artist Vid. Kirti Ramgopal was followed by the vibrant and riveting presentation by the famed duo, Vid. Shijith Nambiar and Vid. Parvathy Menon. The festival concluded with a thought provoking and hypnotic presentation by Vid. Rama Vaidyanathan.
Vid. Kirthi Ramgopal began her performance with an ode to the cosmic dancer through “Mahadeva” which reflected the majestic and magnificent form of Lord Shiva. She then presence a Varnam composed by Sri. T. Narasimhachari – “Neerajakshi Ninne Kori”. Here, she depicted a Sakhi telling Krishna about the Nayika’s unending love for him. The Sakhi asserted, “Oh Krishna, the Nayika has completely surrendered her body, mind and soul to you. The fresh creepers remind her of your gentle touch, the cool breeze spreads your fragrance of sandalwood paste and chirping birds remind her of your enchanting flute.” The Varnam was interspersed with crisp jathis that added vibrancy to the overall presentation. She then presented a Javali, “Appudu Manasu” choreographed by Smt. Bragha Bessell, depicting a Nayika enamored by the beauty and qualities of the Nayaka. She concluded her performance with the famous Vyasaraya Thirtha’s “Krishna Nee Begane Baro” giving a wholesome treat to the rasikas.
Vid. Shijith Nambiar and Vid. Parvathy Menon began their presentation with an Alaripu set to the background of the Krithi – “Sri Jalendaram”. This piece which provided a vibrant start to their presentation was followed by yet another unique composition and choreography describing the Lord who sleeps in the milky ocean of Vaikunta. Their refreshing duet choreography was keenly showcased in the Ashtapadi set consisting of “Yahi Madhava” and “Priye Charuaheele”. Their understanding, complementary movements and reactions entranced the rasikas. The creative Shiva- Parvati and Shivalinga poses coupled with their devotional performance of the Ardhanareeshawara Stotram provided a surreal conclusion to their performance.
Vid. Rama Vaidyanathan commenced her performance with a Varnam based on a Padavali of Mirabai. The Varnam showcased the unique relationship between Mirabai and Lord Krishna. Mirabai equates the raincylcle to her relationship- the rain representative of Krishna’s presence and the cool breeze after the rains as the calm mind after her union with her beloved. The soulful music by Vid. Sudha Raghuram added to the expressive nature of the Varnam. The vibrant jathis with calculative mathematical precision in the muktayams and arathis brought out intense joy. She then presented a rare composition of Annamacharya where the poet asserts that the sexual prowess of Alamelu Manga Devi is more potent and powerful in comparison to Venkateshwara. The poet requests Venkateshwara to go back to Alamelumanga and not prolong their fight any longer as the Goddess is anyways bound to win! She concluded her performance with “Swaswam” drawn from Thirumoolar’s Thirumanthiram portraying a glimpse of the power of cosmic dance. The divinity that she exuded left every Rasika soaked in a supreme bliss.
On the whole, Ananya Nruthya Neerajana 2022 presented to eager art rasikas a wholesome visual treat.
Photo Credits: AARVAAR