37th year Art festival 2011
Day 21 is another important entry in the diary of Kartik Fine Arts' 37th year season. The atmosphere was festive, with a huge turn out of rasikas at the Bharathiya Vidhya Bhavan Main Hall.
The much talked about presentation of the sisters, Anita Ratnam and Prita Ratnam's 'Andal Andal' - a hour long Bharathanatyam performance was to be staged. The presentation's maiden run for Kartik Fine Arts had evoked all round enthusiasm. Andal, the Vaishnava poet, who symbolises womanhood, is apparently close to the heart for Anita Ratnam. Hence, she is said to have worked on it for this year's December season (also, this thematic dance will be part of the topic, 'Mad and Divine' for Kartik Fine Arts' Natya Darshan dance seminar).
A huge display board made of flowers engraved 'Andal', welcomed us at the lobby.
The hall and the lobby were overflowing with people, a majority of those who have close ties with dance and the dancers. All were running criss cross jostling in the crowd, in order to grab a seat. The front rows were decorated by stalwarts and renowned people from the dance fraternity - Adyar Lakshmanan, Sudharani Raghupathi, to name a few. Women adorned with colourful silk sarees and fine jewellery were eye catching.
The auditorium's interiors gave the feel of a temple. Aroma of Incense wafted in the air. The props, and the backdrop of a Vaishnava Kovil in pleasing lights on the stage, complete with doors for the inner sanctum and more of that sort were amazingly beautiful. The clattering of pooja bells, sacred chants as interlude to every traditional vaishnava sloka or song were realistic.
The sisters' dance for three verses of Thiruppavai brought along the Margazhi flavour at the start. Could one imagine a better topic for a theatrical dance in the holy month of Margazhi! On the whole, there was religious, cultural and traditional fervour in the hall. The duo sisters in traditional attire had the perfect dancer figures, and swirled around briskly, filled with grace and versatility. The illumination effects to create the blissful experiences of the dancers were innovative and well planned.
It was a value filled programme. The title, and the return of the sisters on the stage after decades, perhaps had attracted huge crowds. Again a tough time for Kartik managers.
Thunderous applause tore the ears when the drama folded up, culminating in the celestial wedding.
Rasikas crowded around the stage, congratulating each of the large number of artistes involved in the production. By then, the scene had become noisy and chaotic!
And later, it was calm after a storm, before the next event rolled out.
Nadanamamani Bhargavi Gopalan gave a Bharathanatyam dance recital, full of grace and poise.
Commencing the performance with Ravana Sivathandavam sthothram at a brisk pace in ragamailka, she then gave a varnam presentation as the main piece. The popular 'Vanajakshi' in Kalyani ragam, of Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar, with liberally added jathis and swarams, was a aesthetic item.
The ever popular Thaye Yasodha of Oothukkadu Venkatakavi was the next, in two parts. The verses of this krithi Bhargavi performed to are rarely presented ones, in Thodi ragam. 'Illai illai Amma' verse was in Atana.
There was a good audience in the hall, and they were all appreciative of her performance.