Kuchipudi Nrithya Neerajanam
- Sudha Sridhar
e-mail: sudhasridhar@hotmail.com

September 4, 2012

Gana Mukundapriya, Chennai, organized a program on August 20, 2012 as a tribute to late Kuchipudi Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam at the Muthamizh Peravai Sri TN Rajarathnam Pillai auditorium.

Guru Vedantam Ramu honored with ‘Natya Kala Choodamani’

On the occasion, they aptly chose to honour Kuchipudi Guru Vedantam Ramu, and conferred on him the title ‘Natya Kala Choodamani’ for his continuing contribution to the dance form. Guru Vedantam Ramu needs no introduction, having been with Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam for the past 38 years as a shadow to the Guru like the faithful Lakshmana, being an integral part of his Kuchipudi Art Academy first as a performer, then as a dance guru. He has dedicated his entire life to the dance form and his penchant for excellence can be seen in his every move.

Guru Vedantam Ramu’s students, Vimala Eashwaran and Sandhya Dinesh’s scintillating dance performance, with their vachika abhinayam kept the nice homely atmosphere alight with the entire evening dedicated to showcase ‘Abhinava Siddhendra Yogi’, Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam’s choreography. The blend of youth and maturity was witnessed in the combination of both the dancers aided by the effortless nattuvangam by Guru Vedantam Ramu with music accompaniment of Gomathinayagam on vocal, Shankarnarayana on flute, Phanikumar on mridangam and Shankar on violin, adding to the evening’s enchanting performance.

Vimala Eashwaran

Sandhya Dinesh

The first item was the traditional prayer Brahamanjali, a puja song, written by BLN Chari, in ragamalika set to adi tala choreographed by Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam. The item was replete with salutations to almost the entire creation with special mention of the dance God, Lord Shiva.

After Brahmanjali, Sandhya Dinesh took up Guru Vempati’s composition ‘Narayaneem’ based on Narayana Bhattathiri’s Narayaneem, narrating the story of Lord Narayana (the initial two slokas) and combining Sadasiva Brahmendra’s Manasa Sancharare sung once again in Ragamalika set to adi tala. While narrating the story of Lord Vishnu, the devotion and emotion brought out by Sandhya was apt and witnessed good synchronization of music and dance keeping the audience involved and absorbed in foot tapping appreciative mode. All along, both the dancers’ exemplary footwork and expressions bore the stamp of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam’s and Vedantam Ramu’s teaching and style. 

The penultimate piece of the evening was the traditional Bhama Kalapam, the great seer Siddhendra Yogi’s contribution to Kuchipudi. Vimala Eashwaran showcased the famous Pravesha daruvu of the kalapam wherein Satyabhama’s affinity to Lord Krishna and the resultant act of the ability to draw the Lord to her abode all the time is highlighted. The daruvu in raag Bhairavi set to misra chapu tala with graceful movements punctuated by the characterization of Satyabhama easily brought the best out of the dancer.

The finale of the evening was Guru Vempati’s Hindola Tillana set to adi tala. The famous tillana dedicated to Siddhendra Yogi with lyrics and choreography by Vempati Chinna Satyam and music by Bhagavathalu Seetharama Sarma bore his customary mudra on Siddhendra Yogi. The richness of the nrithyam saw the spontaneous involvement and appreciation of the audience for the culmination of the evening’s dedication to Vempati Chinna Satyam, his timeless contribution to Kuchipudi and the rich cultural heritage of the country.

The live musical accompaniment of the evening brought a breath of freshness when compared to the now customary dance program aided by recorded music. A whole hearted tribute to the doyen, from one of his most accomplished artistes, Vedantam Ramu, an unassuming personality much in the lines of his Guru, was a very thoughtful effort from the organizers.