Click here for all links

Social media links

Anantha Bharathi's Sri Bhagavatha Keerthanai
- Anjana Anand
Photos: Iyyappan Arumugam

October 14, 2022

Every year on October 2nd, the Ramanathan family in collaboration with Natyarangam celebrates the scholar musician Dr. S. Ramanathan by presenting a thematic Bharatanatyam program. The Endowment celebration is two-fold as the event also highlights Tamil works which are selected to be visualized through natyam. This year, Dr. Sasirekha Raammohan (Director of Kanagasabai school of Bharatanatyam) was chosen to present Anantha Bharathi's Sri Bhagavatha Keerthanai (Dasama Skandam). The work is a translation of the popular Bhagavatham in Sanskrit and celebrates the life of Lord Krishna.

The music was composed by R.K. Sriram Kumar assisted by Amrita Murali and Rajkumar Bharathi. The evening began with a crisp introduction about the life of Anantha Bharathi by Dr. S. Raghuraman, who has been the driving force in popularizing hidden gems of Tamil literature.

Sri Bhagavatha Keerthanai

The opening tableau of the various Krishnas set the scene for the fast paced and catchy scenes to follow. The dancers Aswathi K. Suresh, Hamsa and Mayura Balagurunathan, Sivadas Rajan, Sruthy Anand and Swati Athmanathan, disciples of different gurus, came together to bring Krishna alive with their quick role changes and neat dancing. The first scene depicted the birth of Krishna and the dancers transformed from guards overcome by sleep to the swirling Yamuna waters through which Vasudeva carefully carries the baby under Adisesha's watchful hood.

The popular Krishna leelas of Poothana, Shakatasura and Thrinavarta were seamlessly strung together with a beautiful ragamalika compostion. Jathis interspersed in-between added to the dramatic effect. Kudos to Sasirekha for highlighting each dancer in the ensemble thus adding a layer of strong characterization along with the coordinated ensemble work. A nice touch was the entry of the cows who idle by the riverside with graceful neck movements!

Sri Bhagavatha Keerthanai - Little Samanwitha Lakshmi as Krishna
Little Samanwitha Lakshmi as Krishna

The Govardhana Giri scene where the little Krishna lifted the mountain with his little finger was effective in the music and dance coming together to create the awe and surrender of the people of Gokula. Guest artiste, little Samanwitha Lakshmi livened the scene where the gopis complain of Krishna's mischief. The vachika abhinaya (speech) used in between added to the fun as Yasoda looks at them in disbelief.

With movements and expressions to suit her age, she became little Krishna tied to the urli and the one who showed the universe to Yashoda in her tiny mouth. The Raas-leela of the gopis and Krishna brought out the esoteric and philosophy of the Dance of Life. Each gopi dancing in ecstasy gets entangled in the worldly emotions of ego and possessiveness. The moment that happens, the dance stops and Krishna disappears. He reappears only when the gopis realize their folly. The joyful movements of the dancers brought out the abandon and merriment as the gopis and multiple Krishna reveled in the Raas. The final scene saw Krishna responding to Rukmini's love letter entreating him to take her away before she is forced to marry Sisupala.

Sri Bhagavatha Keerthanai

It was a production which reached out to the rasikas through dramatic story telling and strong dancing by the artistes. The accompanying musicians (nattuvangam - Sasirekha Raammohan, vocal - Mithun Madhusoodanan and Samanvita G Sasidharan, mridangam - P.K. Sivaprasad, violin - Nandini Sai Giridhar and flute- Sujith) kept the lively pace of the production. Special mention for Samanvita's melodious and confident singing. It was an evening where music and dance together celebrated Krishna in all his glory!

Anjana Anand
Anjana Anand is a dancer, scholar and writer.

Click here for all links
Reviews | Home | About | Address Bank | News | Info Centre | Featured Columns