Week two of Bengaluru International Arts Festival
- Meghna Venkat
e-mail: meghna.venkat@gmail.com
Photos courtesy: BIAF

September 21, 2012

The second week of Bengaluru International Arts Festival took off on 7th September.  At Taj West End, there was an exhibition of paintings as part of the festival.
Evam’s Standup Comedy with four young adults was a non-stop hilarious 90 minute show.  The anecdotes of Chennai- Bangalore Express, cookery shows on TV, railway station co-passenger conversations and many everyday routines, even an irksome experience was transformed into a comical anecdote.  Vasanth from Chennai, Rajiv from Madurai, Yudie from Nepal and Richard from Coimbatore came to Bengaluru with raw comedy on original theories from their towns - Madurai Muttai Parota, Chennai discotheques and so on. It was a refreshing hilarious cocktail that Evam offered.                                 

Exhibition at Taj West End


Pritam Chakraborty, Suddhashil Chatterjee, Jonathan Kay

Pallavi & Arun
At the other end of Bengaluru, melodious sounds of the string instrument combined with western saxophone in Brigade MLR CC as part of BIAF. Suddhashil Chatterjee on santoor and Jonathan Kay from Canada on saxophone together with Pritam Chakraborty on percussion carried the audience into the realms of peaceful music. The first number was a western composition  “Afro Blue,” a beautiful piece rendered by Jonathan Kay. The second song in Jalasammodhini raag enticed the audience with impressive fusion.  The last piece was a 'pahadi' music in raag Misra Pahad, and as the name suggests it evoked images of the enthralling Himalayan regions.

From this genre, the audience was transported to fusion songs of Arun and Pallavi.  The troupe had an impressive team of young talented keyboard player Nivas Prassana, on guitar was Alwin Fernandes, on bass guitar Aalap Raja and on Latin percussion Pramath Kiran. With her scintillating voice, Pallavi began with "ayya nee kaledhire kelu," a poem from the 12th century, followed by a poem by Shariff "naan alla" - I am not Him. Beautiful and meaningful compositions were carefully selected by the artistes. "Suvayya bisi idhe," a poem from folklore, was a thought provoking number in which percussionist Pramath Kiran impressed the audience with his skills. In the poem by DV Guddappa "mankuthimana kagga," Arun impressed with his complex beats. Bass guitarist Aalap took the music to another echelon. The last song of the evening was a Purandaradasa composition "Rokka."

The Madras String Quartet

Manasi Prasad & group

The evening of 8th September saw different art forms coalesce on many stages across Bengaluru. Jagriti at Whitefield witnessed a fine combination of four artistes who embarked on a remarkable performance exploring new frontiers of Carnatic music. VS Narasimhan and Hemanthraj Muliyil on violin, BJ Chandran on viola and VR Sekar on cello, the quartet with a unique combination of south Indian classical music with western harmonic principles played Shankarabharana varnam. They continued with “Sri Maha Ganapathy” in Nattai ragam, “Sri Saraswathi” in Arabhi raag, “Dhyaanamosgraada” in Purvi Kalyani, a collection of amazing numbers which had a soothing effect on the audience. The fusion of Chakravaka krithi was a hit but the Bilahari raag composition stole the show with great swara prasthara, that one did not realize the absence or the need for percussion. To the delight of the Bengaluru audience, they concluded with “Krishna nee begane baro.”

The show continued with Carnatic Lounge by Manasi Prasad. A charming personality herself, she took her spectators through a scintillating musical journey beginning with slokas and Shanthi Mantra in various ragas. Accompanied by her able musicians, she continued with ‘Geeta Govinda’ and ‘Meera bhajan’ in Bhowli ragam. “Akka Kelavva,” a composition of Akka Mahadevi stirred the audience. The pleasant concert ended with ‘Madhurashtakam,’ ‘Thillana’ and ‘Jagadodharana.’  

Meanwhile, an exhilarating Chhau recital by Shashadhar Acharya and his troupe stole the show at Brigade MLR Convention Centre. The first item ‘Ratri’ in Seraikella Chhau commenced with an artiste carrying lamps. The verses are from Ratri Sukta in the Rig Veda that personifies night into a goddess. The second was ‘Nataraj,’ the dance of Shiva with many awe inspiring postures. The next item portrayed the eternal love of Radha and Krishna followed by Geetopadesha from Mahabharata which was depicted very effectively. The last number was ‘Mayura,’ the beautiful peacock dance.

The audience was next treated to the majestic movements of Bharatanatyam by Guru Bhanumathi’s troupe. The first piece was ‘Purvarangavidhi,’ a brisk nritta item in ragam Hamsadhwani set to adi thalam. The next number ‘Tanigai’ was in praise of Lord Subramanya in ragamalika set to adi thalam. The brilliantly choreographed third piece took verses from Taitri Upanishad in ragam Revathi and ended with Rudranamanjali. After ‘Sarvadeva Namaskara,’ a composition of Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma, the program concluded with a unique choreography on Gandhi, the father of our nation.

Shashadhar Acharya’s troupe

Bharatanjali troupe

Jyotsna Srikanth & group

Suma Sudhindra & group

There was an overflowing gathering at UB City amphitheatre for ‘Fusion Dreams’ by Jyotsna Srikanth on violin and Marten Wisser from Austria on saxophone. After a good start with ‘Sprint,’ ‘Kalyani Mix’ was an excellent piece with swift and subtle chords. ‘Hip Hop Violin,’ ‘Alone with Mother Nature,’ ‘Irish folk Dance’ caught the attention of the audience. The performance ended with ‘Canter’ and ‘Bowling with violin’ leaving the viewers longing for more.

Carnatic Jazz fusion featuring Dr. Suma Sudhindra on veena, Gerard Machado on guitar and Andrew Kay from Canada on western saxophone took the stage with their first number ‘Flight of Song.’ The second piece was a remarkable traditional score in raag Kalyana Vasantha. The trio then played ‘Chariot.’ ‘26/11’ was an emotional number on terrorism which evoked a sense of empathy. The concluding number for the evening was a special composition for Bengaluru International Arts Festival in Mohana ragam.

Abhilash Ningappa & Kamila Kama Jezierska

Hari & Chetana’s troupe

On September 9, ‘Troubled Duet,’ a contemporary dance performance by Abhilash Ningappa and Kamila Kama Jezierska was a striking presentation describing two people who are in trouble. The dance started with a conversation of 2 people over the phone. The lady over the phone tries to describe while Abhilash on the other side keeps persisting on “try to be more specific.” The story gains a hilarious touch with their dialogues and gradually develops into a fight. The fight was portrayed so naturally that the audience thought they were in a real clash. After each one pulled down the other to the floor, the story gradually ended with consoling   words and reunion. ‘Troubled Duet’ was an interesting theme and presented in a distinctive style of dialogue and dance.  

The evening proceeded with Kathak recital by Hari, Chetana and troupe. They commenced with ‘Sargam’ where they rendered beautiful tatkars. The second item was a combination of various slokas like “Guru Brahma,” “Matri devo bhava,” and continued with ghazal composition by the duo now clad in white costume.  ‘Juagalbandhi’ by the troupe was a rhythmic dialogue between percussion and dancer. It began with khanda and chatusra and ended with a beautifully woven mukthayi. The final number was a famous composition of Swathi Thirunal “Chaliye Kunjanamo” in Brindavanasaranga. ‘Kathak ki shaam’ was a scintillating number by the troupe.

Poornima Ashok

Jayant Kastuar

It was full house at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on September 13, for performances by well known artistes Poornima Ashok and Jayant Kastuar. Poornima Ashok commenced her Bharatanatyam recital with ‘Ardhanareeshwaram,’ with the song  “Champaye gaura ardha shariraya,” one of the several great compositions of Adi Shankaracharya. The dance described various physical attributes of the lord and Devi, in the form of Ardhanareeshwara. The majestic and graceful portrayal of Ishwara and Shakti was well depicted in this song which was in Megh raag set to adi thala. She continued with varnam in Bhairavi raag.  “Mohamana” was a beautiful depiction of a pining nayika, her dreams about her past times with her nayaka. A virahotkanditha nayika was strikingly portrayed in the charanam, where she pleads to the lord to end this torture of waiting. From this mood she transformed to a young maiden still in her teens describing her naiveté and naughtiness.  This javali composed by Swati Thirunal in raag Saindhavi was lively. Concluding her recital, she performed a ‘Tani Avartanam’ in adi thalam, a skillful performance with many intricate rhythmic patterns composed by Kiran Subramaniam. This ended with a verse from Natya Sastra in Revathi raag.  She was ably accompanied by DV Prassana Kumar on nattuvangam, vocal by Nanda Kumar, Sri Hari on mridangam, Nataraja Murthy on violin and Venugopal on flute.

The second segment continued with Kathak recital by renowned artiste Jayant Kastuar who performed the traditional style, where many extempore tukdaas and thaats were rendered with great dexterity. He began his recital with a sloka from Nandakumara Ashtakam composed by Vallabhacharya. The aesthetic number was followed by a pure dance number in raag Desh. He continued his recital with “mere sakhi more piya ghar aaye” where a nayika describes to her sakhi about her beloved returning home. The various approaches of explaining the meaning was impressive. In the next song, he portrayed different situations of different characters with the line “Nazariya lage nahi kahi aur” where he sat down on the stage and beautifully portrayed expressions of a woman, of a man, of a woman who is waiting for her husband, and when he has arrived. The concluding item for the evening was pure dance with many complicated thaats.

Radha Thomas and Aman Mahajan gave an inspiring jazz fusion performance at Opus on 14th September. Karthik Mani and Nepal to Bangalore Express troupe continued the festival with their extraordinary performance. The troupe had 4 members, Karthik Mani on percussion, Sunil Periyar on flute, Nirmal Gartaula on guitar and Solomon on keyboard.

Two for the road

Nepal to Bangalore Express

Basant Raas

Pung Cholom

Shivapriya dance ensemble

Meernanda Bharthakur

At the Cosmopolitan Club, the audience saw 10 different dances on 15th September. It began with an interesting and energetic number from Manipur, Pung Cholom. Shivapriya dance ensemble led by Sanjay Shantaram presented 3 pieces - “Gam Ganapathy,” “Pashunam Pathim” and thillana. The Srilankan Harvest Dance was followed by the beautiful Manipuri Basant Raas. A dance from Nepal’s hilly region was soft and soothing. The African dance saw continuous cheering from the crowd. The spectacular Sattriya dance by Dr. Meernanda Bharthakur stole the show. Following this, Sambalpuri dhalkia dance from Odisha was an energy packed performance. Manipuri Dhol Cholom was next with breathtaking jumps and turns with their drum. The grand finale was by Chindu Yakshaganam troupe who performed Bhookailas and Keechaka Vadham stories to the delight of the audience.

Freedom Park saw huge crowd on September 16, the last evening of the Bengaluru International Arts Festival 2012. There were folk dances from different States and everyone could sense a harmony through art. Odisha folk dances - Dhalkai and Bajasalia by Pancham - Bolangir troupe was a lively and energetic dance. The Manipuri dances - Pung Cholom, Dhol Cholom and Basant Raas showcased not only their beautiful and serene land but that which is present in their dance as well. The rhythmic drum beats and circles and leaps made the audience awestruck. Chindu Yakshaganam from Andhra Pradesh performed the story of Keechaka Vadham where Keechaka desires Panchali, and Bhima assassinates Keechaka disguising himself as Draupadi. The depicted story was well understood by the Kannada audience.

Sambalpuri dance

Chindu Yakshaganam

The Bengaluru International Arts Festival which was organised by AIM showcased 27 events in 10 venues across Bengaluru in the span of 11 days.