A dance tribute to the great composers of Telugu origin
- Hema Macherla, London
e-mail: hemamacherla@hotmail.com

November 10, 2010

An evening for Telugu Diaspora was conducted on 30th October at the Nehru Centre - the cultural wing of Indian High Commission. Telugu language has been commended by Westerners and Indians alike. The 16th century traveller Nicollo de Conti referred to it as the Italian of the East, the great Vijayanagara Emperor Sri Krishna Deva Raya said, "Desa Bhaashalandu Telugu lessa" (Of all the Indian languages, Telugu is the sweetest), celebrated Tamil poet and freedom fighter Subramanya Bharathi said, "Sundara Teluginil paattisaithu" (Telugu has very beautiful compositions).

Mrinalini Sadananda
Ragasudha Vinjamuri

A dance tribute was paid by Mrinalini Sadananda from Washington DC and Ragasudha Vinjamuri from London, to great composers of Telugu origin and the like who contributed immensely to Indian philosophy and thought. The evening rendition opened with Narayaneeyam- invocation to Lord Vishnu and Maanasa Sancharare in Sama Raga by Sadasiva Brahmendra Swamy, followed by a tribute to Saint Annamacharya - his compositions being Inta Chakkadanamika, Chakkani Talliki Chaangu Bhalaa describing Goddess Alamelumanga's divine beauty and grace and Deva Namon Deva describing Lord Vishnu's attributes. Then came Ksheera Saagara Shayana, a Tyagaraja composition in Deva Gandhari Raga, depicting Gajendra Moksha and the abduction of Sita and killing of Ravana episode of Ramayana. This was followed by Narayana Teertha's composition Govardhana Giri Dhari in Ragamalika, displaying Krishna's naughty pranks of stealing milk and butter. Jayadeva Ashtapadi Radhika Krishna, also in Ragamalika, was followed by Mangalam, an Ode to Lord Narayana - the Sustainer of the Universe, through an excerpt from Sri Gadyam.

It was a brilliant performance, amalgamating the graceful lines and beautiful movements of Bharatanatyam and elegant, willowy, fluid movements of Kuchipudi. Also, it was interesting to see that most of the items started with one dancer and ended with the other. The emotions they depicted in their expressions were noteworthy. In the Ashtapadi, the pain and agony that Radhika feels in viraha, being separated from Krishna, was very moving. Every item was an experience for the audience. It was an enchanting evening.

Hema Macherla is an author and novelist based in London. She is an Award Winner of the book 'Breeze from the River Manjeera,' which received Queen's honours.