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Revathy Sankkaran gives a fitting start to a fine festival

The music and dance season has begun in earnest all over Chennai. Festivals were inaugurated one by one and titles conferred on various musicians and dancers. Kartik Fine Arts was one of the first to start their series, and their inauguration was marked by a fine Harikatha discourse on Maharaja Serfoji II by Revathy Sankkaran of TV-fame. Dressed in the grand 9-yards saree, nuth and other ornaments in the Marathi style, and calling herself Sakkubai, she made the show both interesting and informative and brought to light the golden regime of Serfoji II.

Raja Serfoji II was a great lover of art and patronised all art forms. One day a renowned musician of those times, Seetaramayya, who was a specialist in raga Todi hesitated to sing the same in the court as he had pledge the same for want of money. On hearing this, the Maharaja told him that he could sing it without any fear since he had released the same from the money-lender! The much-celebrated Tanjore plate of the present day is the gift of the inspiration of Serfoji II. 

Interesting information from his life history were well compiled and rendered by the artiste. The delegation of authority was the essence of his administrative tactics. The art and administration worked side by side, like two well-oiled machines. The Saraswathi Mahal library in Tanjavur, which has a plethora of research material and preserved publications of those days on topics pertaining to all fields, stands as a live testimony of Maharaja Serfoji's quest for knowledge. The different Khanas and Mahals of Serfoji's time were neatly rendered by the artiste in a single stroke. Kudos to the memory power of Revathy Sankkaran.

Raja S Babaji Raja Bhonsle Chatrapati, a descendant of Raja Serfoji, who presided over the function was overwhelmed by her lively presentation. Her grand stage presence, confidence, wit and command over several languages shone through. These coupled with her sincerity, thorough research and analysis of the subject makes her different from the others in her clan.

Birth anniversary celebrated

Padmasri late K N Dandayudhapani Pillai was an uncrowned empire in the domain of Indian classical dance. He was not only a good dance master and choreographer but a great lyricist-cum-music composer. A majority of today's dancers like to present at least one of his compositions in each programme. His choreographic genius needs no special introduction. The birth anniversary of this great man was celebrated at the Rani Seethai Hall, Chennai by the students of his better half, Chandra Dandayudhapani Pillai. Students and ex-students of Tamilnadu Government Music College, Chennai also offered their tributes to this legend by their active participation in this grand carnival. Many of his special compositions were staged with great care as a mark of  reverence. Hon'ble Minister Jayakumar, violinist Kunnakkudi Vaidyanathan and Sulochana Sampat added lustre to the show by their gracious presence. The orchestral ensemble included Chandra Dandayudhapani Pillai (Nattuvangam), Kaveri (Vocal), J Padmanabhan (Mridangam), Chandru (Voilin), Krishnan (Clarionet) and Subbu (Keyboard).



Madhumati Prakash is one of the few gurus who has good command over not only Bharatanatyam but other related aspects like theory, Nattuvangam and Carnatic music. Hailing from the lineage of a perfect Nattuvanar, this young guru imparts undiluted training in the rare Kanchipuram tradition. Mridula's recent Bharatanatyam performance at the Rani Seetai Hall was testimony to the dedicated training imparted to her by her Guru Madhumati. 

Commencing with the Ganeshanjali in Raga-Talamalika, Mridula moved on to present the Abhogi Jatiswaram composed by her guru Madhumathi. The Padam, Sundaresa, composed by Guru Udupi Laxminarayan triggered the interest of the audience with its terrific audio-visual impact. Madurai Krishnan's Kamavardhini Varnam was presented with great beauty and with all its artistic merits. This item was a real acid test to the dancer and she proved up to the task, thanks to her Guru.

The latter half of the show also had interesting numbers as Adum Nayakane of P R Venkata Subramanian and Vrindavanadali of Purandaradasa. Here she sang the glory of the two dancing Lords namely Nataraja and Krishna. The audience witnessed an energetic danseuse throughout. The programme rounded up with the Ahirbhairavi Tillana of the maestro Dr. M Balamuralikrishna. 

The expert accompanists, Guru Madhumathi Prakash (Nattuvangam), Subhasree Ramesh (Vocal), Shaktivel (Mridangam), Nagaraju (Violin), Venkata Subramanian (Keyboard) also share the credit, for without their cooperation the programme couldn't have been the success that it was.

Himaja Ramsharan recently staged three promising starlets, T VS Vaishnavi, R Vandana and C Vinolia at the Mylapore Fine Arts Club, Chennai. The young dancers' performance displayed the excellent training by their Guru. Commencing with a crisp Pushpanjali, the Subramanya Kauttuvam and Tisra Alarippu were presented with ease and confidence. In the Shanmukhapriya Jatiswaram in Roopaka Tala composed by Guru K N Dandayudhapani Pillai, the dancers displayed apt footwork and proved their command over nritta.

The Sakhiye Varnam in Sankarabharanam remained the central piece, which brought out the dancers' ability to handle forceful jatis and subtle facial expressions. The technique of brilliant division of both nritta and abhinaya pieces mirrored the choreographic genius of the Guru. It also facilitated in sustaining the dancers' energy throughout. The 3 solo pieces Arpuda Sirpiyadi, Govardhana Giridhara and Muthu Tamizh by Vandana, Vinolia and Vaishnavi respectively were up to the mark. The programme was rounded off with the brisk Kapi Tillana. The music orchestra comprised Seetalakshmi (Vocal), Chandrasekar (Mridangam) and Sikkil Balu (Violin).

Lakshmi V N


Posted on December 17, 2001


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