37th year Art festival 2011
It was eventful 4th day at the Kartik Fine Arts fest in Narada Gana Sabha. On the sleepy Sunday afternoon, the hall was full even before 4 pm, the scheduled time for Isai peroli Dr Nithyasri Mahadevan to start the concert. Nithyasri is always close to the music lovers' hearts. The full strength rasikas were silently looking forward to a great concert, which was fulfilled by Nithyasri in every aspect.
One difference could be noted on the stage - Patri Satishkumar was the Mridangist, the part mostly played by her father, Sri Sivakumar. Another difference one could feel during the concert was - there were no hushed discussions on ragas and krithis amongst the audience. Reason: Prior to starting every krithi, Nithyasri clearly announced the raga, composer and talam.
The concert started briskly with the Saveri raga, Adi tala varnam. The following two krithis were the soft moving 'Sujana jeevana' in Khamas of Thyagaraja and 'Gopalaka pahimam anisam' in Revagupti. The latter is a Swathi Thirunaal composition. The krithi had short swaram phrases, pleasing to the ears.
The detailed Varali raga alapana followed, for the Dikdhithar's krithi 'Seshachala nayakam' and Nithyasri handled it wonderfully. The neraval and kalpanaswarams at 'Aravinda patra nayanam, Govindam uraga sayanam' was exciting. It was excellent team work by B Raghavendra Rao,Vviolinist, Sathish Kumar and Madippakkam Murali, who was on the Ghatam.
Next was Papanasam Sivan's 'Soundarya VeLLam thanil en ullam mayangi vizhundu amizhndaden..' after the virutham of the Thiruvasagam line - 'Paal ninaindoottum thayinum salapparindu...' This krithi with rich lyrics in Mohana ragam created hair rising experience.
'Mayamma' in Ahiri (Shyama Sastri), 'Durgadevi' in Navarasa Kannada (Muthiah Bhagavathar) were sung next. Thyagaraja's 'Raksha Bettare' in Bhairavi was the main piece with firework swarams, neraval and thani avarthanam. On the whole it was pleasurable. For relaxation, next krithi was 'Ragathil siranda ragam edu....' which had more than 2 dozen raga names sung in the respective ragams, that came in quick succession. 'Thamburi Meettidava' in Sindhubhairavi and Basant Bahar thillana of Maharajapuram Santhanam were the final pieces.
Breath taking and long concert!- For many in the audience, it was difficult to get up from the chairs.
Unprecedented crowds poured in for the next and much expected dance ballet 'Parishvanga Pattabishekam' by Dance Guru Anitha Guha. The hall was packed and extra chairs were laid where ever there was space. And there were people everywhere.
This is a Bharathanjali presentation of 'Kishkintha Kandam' and 'Sundara Kandam' of Ramayana.
Revathi Sankaran, TV personality gave a pre talk and narration of the production, that generated more curiousity in the audience. Conceived by Cleveland Sundaram for a show in USA, the credit for its lyrics and music goes to the Carnatic Music maestro, Neyveli Sri Santhanagopalan.
The songs have been sung by the vocalists, Sriranjani Santhanagopalan, Gayathri Venkatraghavan and Nisha Rajagopal. This amazing dance drama is sure to go places. Choreographed by Anitha Guha, scenes relating to Hanuman, Sita in Asoka vanam, Vali, Sugreevan, Rama Lakshmana, Ravana, monkeys.....all are master pieces.
This Festival season, 'Parishvanga Pattabishekam' dance drama should be on the 'must see' list of all art enthusiasts and especially children. The lighting effects, the costumes, the awesome choreography and the skills of the dancers - all deserve special appreciation. Janaki Rangarajan, the dancer who was awarded Nadanamamani by Kartik Fine Arts has donned the role of Rama and it is exemplary.