Dhruva Margam: A full margam in Chatura Jathi Dhruva talam 
- T R Subramanyam 
January 26, 2008 

The December season at Chennai is flooded with music and dance concerts and organizers vie with each other in offering series of music concerts, some of them with an attractive theme. 

"Eka Raga Sandhya" is a popular theme in which a single raga is taken up for various levels of elaboration throughout the two hour duration of the concert. Perhaps for the first time in history there was a dance concert in the series of Music Connoisseurs Club at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai, on 17th of January 2008. The concert could have been rightly captioned as "Eka Tala Sandhya" wherein right from Pushpanjali, all the items danced were in one and the same tala, that too in an unusual tala like 'Chatusra jathi Dhruvam.' 

The artiste was Vinitha Navarathinam who lives in far off Canada. She has been brilliantly tutored by one of our most versatile gurus Madurai R.Muralidaran. The control piece of the concert was the usual Varnam but in the same unusual Chathusra Jathi Dhruva Talam, the first among the Soolathi Saptha Thalas with a total of fourteen movements.  

Children are familiarized to all the seven talas even in the early stage of learning in the alankarams - almost all the songs taught to them are in the popular Adi, Rupakam and Chapu talas. Composers too never chase the Sapta Talas and Muthuswamy Dikshitar was the only master composer who sang the praise of the deities of the seven days, Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn in the respective seven talas starting from Dhruvam.  

Madurai R Muralidaran is a composer next only to Muthuswamy Dikshitar to sing the praise of the same Sun god in the first among Sapta Talas - Dhruva Talam. It would indeed demand expertise of very high order to compose a Varnam, Jathis and all other requirements of a central dance piece in Dhruva talam of fourteen counts. Muralidaran deserves all praise for this achievement. Not only he; his worthy disciple Vinitha Navarathinam is indeed one of whom the guru can be proud.  

The vocalist of the evening Kuldeep M Pai did an excellent job in remembering the lyrics and executing them in pleasing music, all the more when the talam was the fourteen unit Dhruva talam. The other items of the evening including a Thillana were all in the same Dhruva talam. Bharathiyar's Tamil song "Suttum Vizhi Sudardhan" which is usually employed in the post-pallavi light items was given a different treatment in a heavy tala and it was indeed a dance program with a difference.  

Music Connoisseurs Club deserves mention for choosing to arrange this concert which would have been a dance connoisseur's delight. 

T R Subramanyam, or TRS as he is more popularly known is a respected vocalist and guru. He has composed many varnams, kritis and tillanas. TRS retired a few years ago from the University of Delhi, where he was a Professor in the Department of Music. He is highly respected by all his former students for his knowledge, skill as a concert artiste, his patience as a teacher and his charming demeanor.