Virtuosic Margam by Saudamini Rao
- Satish Suri
June 5, 2022
The Bharatanatyam performance on May 14 at Seva Sadan, Bangalore by Saudamini Rao, disciple of Indira Kadambi, was a triumph of commitment and passion for the art form. Brimming with confidence and an infectious enthusiasm, the artiste opened with a Ganesha shloka that describes the sixteen auspicious names, the recitation of which before every auspicious event will ward off all obstacles. The Alarippu that followed in tisra eka talam, the dance composition of Prof. C.V.Chandrasekhar in Usi, was a lively exposition, punctuated by the vibrant nattuvangam of Indira Kadambi reaffirming the artiste's competence making it an interesting number to watch.
The varnam "Sarasijakshidu" in ragam Kalyani and roopaka talam, a composition of Sivanandam Pillai of the Tanjore Quartet was an ideal canvas for interpretation by the dancer. Indira Kadambi acknowledged the inputs provided by Jitendra Krishna in exploring the varnam. The nayika is besotted with the love of Rajagopala of Mannargudi addressing it as Dwaraka of the South. "The beautiful lotus-eyed one, I have come with a desire to unite with you, Soundarya Gopala. You are a connoisseur of the arts. The arrows of Manmadha are tormenting me and it is time for you to stop playing with the Gopis and engage only with me and not to delay any further." Elaborating each segment of the varnam and unfolding the magnificent leelas of Lord Krishna, the dancer was in her element throughout with her technique capturing evocative frames. She negotiated the changes in the rhythmic structures and the teermanams with elan. The jathis were composed by Kittappa Pillai and Kandaswamy Pillai executed by the artiste with relish. Musicality and dance synergised. The vocalisation by Deepu Nair with his perfect kaala pramanam added punch to the essence of the composition.
The Devaranama "Jagadhodharana" of Purandaradasa that followed depicts the poet's beautiful visualisation of Yashoda and her relationship with the infant Krishna. The dance improvisation by Saudamini extolling the vatsalya bhava was characterised by the beautiful coordination of melody and abhinaya. The little flourish at exiting the stage at the end of the piece had a touch of finesse.
"Apuduriki lonaithane" set in Khamas raga featured the dramatization of an innocent nayika who laments, "I have become notorious for no reason. I wonder which evil woman started this rumour. I went up to his house along with my friends. Every time I came across him, I smiled at him; for this, they called me a loose woman. Just because I have known him well from my childhood, they are saying that I am carrying on with him?" The flow of expressions by the dancer blended seamlessly with the bhava of the composition.
"Chudare," a composition of Kshetrayya set in raga Sahana, describes the petty gossip tinged with jealousy and inquisitiveness about the abhisarika nayika's liaison and complete disregard for social decorum and society's derisions. The delineation of the piece was visually delightful, the character portrayal of subtle and emotional states skilfully woven into the narrative. Saudamini Rao concluded with a Thillanna set in Madhuvanthi raga, composed by Lalgudi Jayaraman. The collage of expressions and vibrant footwork pulsating to the rhythm of the music provided an ecstatic conclusion to the programme.
The music ensemble led by Deepu Nair (vocals), Indira Kadambi (nattuvangam), Lingaraju (mridangam), Dayakar (violin) and Vivek Krishna (flute) provided the musical foundation for the artiste's rendition.
Bangalore based Satish Suri is an avid dance rasika besides being a life member of the Music and Arts Society.