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A delight of music and dance

by Abbi

New Delhi: The third week of September saw a plethora of cultural events in Delhi much to the delight of the music and art lovers of the Capital. But the distances being what it is, with traffic snarls et al, it was difficult to choose the programme to attend.

Among the notable ones were the recitals by two Padma awardees - music concert rendered by Smt Sudha Raghunathan at the Delhi Tamil Sangam auditorium and the dance programme with focus on abhinaya by Smt Geeta Chandran at the India International Centre, Lodi Road.

Photo Courtesy: www.sudharagunathan.com
First, the carnatic music concert by Padmashri Smt Sudha Raghunathan under the aegis of Delhi Bhajana Samaj. The Delhi Bhajana Samaj (Regd) was formed in the year 1956 and is the oldest organization in Delhi. The Samaj has been engaged in the conduct of religious congregational singing (bhajans), prayers, pujas, etc. But in recent times, the organization has been dormant and just when the old-timers of Delhi thought that it has become a defunct one, the Samaj came up with the ambitious plan to build a Sri Ram Temple at Dwarka in north-west Delhi. They organized a two-day cultural programme; a Bharatanatyam dance recital by Ms Renuka Iyer with the theme of Lokabhiramam Namamyaham on 17 September followed by the carnatic vocal recital by Smt Sudha Raghunathan; with emphasis on Bhajans and Tamil Songs, the next evening. The aim of the programmes was to collect funds for the construction of the temple. A very noble cause indeed but the restrictions imposed on the noted singer, one felt were not quite necessary. If one believed that music has no language, then such idiosyncrasies are uncalled for. The artist quite clearly was ill-at-ease and so were the audience. Not that terming it as Bhajans and Tamil Songs brought in large donations for the temple!

Smt Sudha started the programme with the Krithi Gajavadana in Sriranjani followed by Sriman Narayana (Bhouli), Brochevarevarura (Kamas), Alaipayuthe(Kaanada) and the ever- green krithi Bavayami Raghuramam(Raagamalika) All business-like renditions. The raga alapana in Shanmukhapriya followed by the Krithi Parvathinayakane stood out for its mellifluousness. The niraval ‘Nee maravathe’ followed by swara singing was exhilarating for its pure aesthetics. The taniavarthanam on the mridangam by Neyveli Skandasubramaniam and on Morsing by Raman was delightful. Pakkala Ramdas provided able violin support. Sudha sang the now routine Kurai ondrum illai Krithi preceded by an abhang. Notwithstanding the constraint imposed by the organizers, the artiste did not belie the expectations of a packed audience. She did initially acknowledge and was apologetic that this particular concert may not be to the expectations of the connoisseurs but would strive to make it lively. Overall, it was an enjoyable listening experience.

Photo Courtesy: Smt Geeta Chandran
Padmashri Smt Geeta Chandran’s demonstration of abhinaya in her dance recital at the India International Centre enthralled the audience. Beginning with the padam Thaye Yashoda, she gave a scintillating performance bringing out the quintessential facet of dance i.e.abhinaya. Her depiction of the distraught mother at the choice of Shiva as consort in the next item Ethai Kandu ne in Kalyani was outstanding. The next item was in raga Sahana which is known for depicting two moods, pathos and gossip. The concluding number was Ramayana as lullaby narrated to Lord Krishna. Eventhough this item was in a static pose, it was filled with life and subtle transformations seen in the face of the artiste. Smt. Sudha Raghuraman provided excellent vocal support ably assisted by Sh Raghuraman on the flute. I am a novice when it comes to appreciating all the nuances of Bharatanatyam but even I could appreciate the transition of moods and expressions as portrayed by Smt.Geeta Chandran. The programme was a wonderful spectacle.