Chitra Arvind presents Margam in homage to her gurus
- Satish Suri, Bangalore

August 27, 2011

Chitra Arvind, an accomplished dancer proficient in Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Contemporary dance chose to perform a solo Bharatanatyam margam at Seva Sadan on 14th August. Starting with a pushpanjali and followed by a Tisra Alaripu, a composition of Late Dandayudhapani Pillai, Chitra chose to explore the Varnam “Neela Megha Shyama Sundarana.”

The varnam describes the pangs of longing of a virahotkhanditha nayika waiting anxiously to hear the melodious flute of Krishna, the memory of the joyful rasa leela with the playful Krishna and how this thought evokes various rasas in her mind. Here the incident of Krishna’s entry into the wrestling arena of Kamsa from the Krishnakarnamrita is depicted. To the wrestlers Mushtika and Chanoora, who were appointed by Kamsa to kill Him and Balarama, he was formidable like a mountain – Mallai sailendra kalpa: to the people watching the fight, He was a child, Sisuritha ranjanai: to the women looking at Him - Manmatha, pushpa chapanganapir: to the cowherds, He was an ordinary mortal Prakruthathma: to the devas and Indra, Kulisa brutha, who were looking forward to the destruction of Kamsa, who  knew that he was the Supreme Lord, Viswa kayo prameya: He was the cause of joy ramara ganaananda kruth for the devas; to Kamsa himself who was looking at Him with fear, bhaya chakitha drusa, Krishna appeared as a god of death, Krudha kala, Yama who is advancing with anger towards him. To the sages, He was the Brahman, whom they meditated on, Yogibhir dhyeya murthi. The nayika who thus reminisces about Him, wishes that wouldn’t such a Krishna come to her and be united with her.

The complicated Varnam was composed and sung melodiously by Balasubrahmanya Sharma and choreographed by Chitra Arvind, with jathis by Suma Krishnamurthy. Though there was a sense of rhythm, in between it lost track with the uneven tempo. The abhinaya aspect could have been more impactful by cosmetic enrichment around the eyes and the lips to compensate for the lack of flesh in the facial features of the artist. This, in no way detracted from the overall effort of the artist, to be dynamic and innovative.

The Kshetrayya padam which followed the varnam had the samanya nayika commenting on the jealousy about the abhisarika nayika who is as usual on the way to meet Krishna. The samanya nayika expresses her dislike saying, “Look at her …there she goes shamelessly to meet Krishna in broad daylight. She is not at all bothered about the norms of society with regard to modesty. The padam “Joodare...” in ragam Sahana and misrachapu tala was a choreography of Guru B Bhanumati.

The next was a Kriti of Papanasam Sivan in praise of Lord Shiva. Here, the dance of the comic dancer Lord Nataraja is portrayed through the eyes of a devotee. The composition begins with a Viruttham followed by “Idadhu padam thooki aadum..” in ragam Khamaach set to adi tala. The choreography for this piece was by Guru Padmini Ravi.

Ashtapadi of Sri Jayadeva followed. Here the sakhi is coaxing and persuading Radha to go and meet Krishna. Radha is miffed with Krishna and the sakhi cajoles her saying, “Krishna is still waiting for you in the same bower with a flower bed to be united with you. He is anxiously expecting your arrival any time. Remember all the good times. Do not delay anymore, decorate yourself and go meet the charming Krishna.” “Rati sukha saare…” in ragam Yaman Kalyani was set to Adi tala. Choreography was by Guru Lalitha Srinivasan.
This was followed by a Tillana in ragam Hindolam and khanda eka tala. The program was graced by all her gurus B Bhanumathi, Lalitha Srinivasan, Padmini Ravi and the guest of honour Shobana Jeyasingh of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, UK. She was ably supported by Balasubrahmanya Sharma (vocal), Suma Krishnamurthy (nattuvangam), G Gurumurthy (mridangam), Madhuranath (flute) and Aditya (violin).

Satish Suri has been an ardent follower of dance and music for more than 40 years, starting with being on  the committee of the International Music and Arts Society founded by Vijaya Devi, sister of the Late Maharaja of Mysore, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar and now presently is treasurer of World Dance Alliance Karnataka Chapter. He has presented several artists, both dancers and musicians, over the last 40 years.