Sparkling performance by Archana Narayanamurthy
- Shobanaa Bhalchandra
May 10, 2022
Sparkling was the word that jumped at me, when I saw Dr. Archana Narayanamurthy's performance in Mylapore Fine Arts (Chennai). With a bright pink costume and a brighter smile, Archana started her program with a pushpanjali which was followed by shobilusapthaswara, an uncommon number in a margam. The beauty and the celebration of the sapthaswara as described by Thyagarajar were brought to life by Archana with her luminous dancing.
Archana moved on to the central piece, swarajathi of the Tanjore Quartet. Normally we see the Emayaladira in Telugu but this one had Tamil lyrics. Apparently, this was also written by the Tanjore brothers, but the words did not gel well. Probably because we are used to the Telugu version. The choreography was interspersed with tedious and intricate jathis. While Archana did not bat an eyelid, performing it with complete ease, the length and the complication made the audience tired and restless. Jathis should be intricate in parts, making the audience sit up rather than making it complicated from the word go. Indeed, high level of skill and stamina is required to perform such jathis and Archana did full justice. However, the tightness of the choreography comes down a few notches with such lengthy jathis. The nritta should be short and crisp, but interesting enough for the audience to want more.
The abhinaya or the expressive part came out with maturity and complete understanding of the text and context. Archana's impressive stage presence and an easy flow of the bhava added to the beauty of the presentation. The way she was able to cover the stage with her leaps and jumps was a sight to behold. The energy level at which Archana performed without even a momentary slack, made me wonder if she had a couple of adrenaline shots before the show!
Archana is an inspiration to the younger generation with her hard work and dedication which reflects in her performance. Her love and passion for this art form made her give up her professional career as a lawyer. In the present day scenario, we need more artistes like her who can devote themselves to this beautiful art form and pass it on to the younger generation without dilution.
Shobanaa Bhalchandra is a senior performer, teacher and educator. She is the artistic director of Tharanginee. As an empanelled artist of ICCR, Shobanaa has performed for various prestigious international forums. She is now the creative/executive director of Bharathakalanjali, Chennai.