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The brilliance of a fertile mind

Malavika Sarukkai’s latest DVD Vaahini is certainly a valuable pick. Unlike DVDs that are meant for learning or archival purposes, Vaahini is a piece of art, an important addition to a connoisseur’s collection.

As a dancer and an art appreciator, I found the DVD offering great insight into a lot of things. The appearance of miniature paintings complemented the mood of the items she performed. The paintings, the choice of locations for each item performed, the choreography, Malavika’s style of dressing and her jewelry, everything had certain refinement and elegance to it. Something Ms. Sarukkai was always known for.

The banis of Bharatanatyam that she has in her arsenal render immense strength yet grace to any nritta that she takes up. She mentions in the DVD that the Vazhuvoor style of dancing added frills to Bharatanatyam, the attamis and lilts were like gamakas. Whereas, the Tanjore style kept to the rigidity that make this dance an intense yoga.

The brilliance of a fertile mind is however what reflects the most in her meticulously prolific choreographies. A mind that is free, inventive and holds depths of knowledge about the art produces what she represents each time she sets foot on a platform.

She plays a nayika, confronting her lover caught red-handed with proofs of his infidelities. The disgust and disappointment in her rides on par with the overwhelmed feeling of having been right all this while. Simplest manifestation of that feeling could be happiness and as ironic as it might seem, at the end, it is human behavior indeed. This is what she ingeniously discovers and hence describes.

In few other pieces, something that I found so in-corruptly instinctive was the emotions of animals; it could be animals like cows, that felt pure joy on seeing their lord Krishna or animals that would be intoxicated during their mating season.

She always sets the mood of the item she is about to perform, smartly using the environment around her. She shifts with ease between the roles of a man and a woman, a young maiden and an eager mother, a heroine and her sakhis.

All in all, it is a fine product, certainly something an art aficionado could indulge in.

I have nothing to gain in writing a positive review. I’m just another dancer who enjoyed watching this DVD and wanted to share this with the world!