Artograph Vol 02 Iss 06 (2020 Nov-Dec)

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artograph A NEWNMEDIA™ PUBLICATION

2020 NOV - DEC | VOL 02 | ISS 06

A BI-MONTHLY, BILINGUAL E-MAGAZINE FOCUSING ON ARTS | PUBLISHED BY NEWNMEDIA™ FROM KERALA, INDIA | 2020 NOV-DEC VOLUME 02 ISSUE 06 | PAGES: 40 | HTTPS://ARTOGRAPH.NEWNMEDIA.IN

The doyen of

Melattur Bharatanatyam dancer N. Srikanth Natarajan remembers the Bhagavatamela maestro Melattur S. Natarajan.

An illustrious musical odyssey Sajna Sudheer A. writes about the violin legend T.N. Krishnan, who passed away recently.

A shining moon in town Alappuzha Vidhu R. is a seasoned Carnatic vocalist, composer, and a music guru to many in town.

Grandeur unlimited Odisha tourism set an example by hosting their flagship event, the Konark Dance Festival, strictly following the COVID-19 protocols.


CONTENTS

2020 NOV-DEC | VOL 02 | ISS 06

02

Vol 02 Iss 06

The doyen of Melattur 04 N. Srikanth Natarajan

WATCH OUT

STRUMM SPIRITUAL

An illustrious musical odyssey 09

ആഴിയും തിരയും കാറ്റും 12

A shining moon in town 18

Melattur S. Natarajan & N. Srikanth Natarajan Melattur S. Natarajan (standing) as Lord Muruga in 'Valli Thirumanam' presented in 2014 at Melattur. PHOTO: SUGAN RAJ BHARATHI

Sajna Sudheer A.

Sajaneev Ithithanam

Hareesh N. Nampoothiri

STAGE

NEENA PRASAD

Grandeur unlimited 24

The last vow 28

Delivering the best 32

Keeping with the times 35

A NEWNMEDIA™ PUBLICATION

LEAD PHOTOGRAPHY: HAREE FOTOGRAFIE DESIGN & LAYOUT: NEWNMEDIA™

SHARED UNDER

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

ADVT.

THE ORIGINAL RIGHTS OF THE TEXTS AND THE PHOTOGRAPHS RESERVED TO RESPECTIVE OWNERS. THE CC LICENSE IS VALID ONLY FOR THE E-MAGAZINE IN ITS EXACT FORM.

Priyanka B.

Hareesh N. Nampoothiri Priyanka B.

Vinu Vasudevan

TALKING FRAMES

RANJITH KUMAR


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03 EDITORIAL 2020 NOV-DEC| VOL 02 | ISS 06

Leaving the year behind

L

ast year, the story was the same for most of us. We struggled for survival, infinitely hoping to get back to our familiar routines. Then we realised it might take a little longer than expected. People working in different streams accepted it and tried to move forward. However, for artists, it’s even more difficult owing to multiple reasons. As the lawmakers still weigh the options, live programs in packed venues seem to be last in the list to receive the green signal. The current situation is going to change, and soon we will be having programs for sure. But will it be the same? We have lost a handful of artists during these months and with a lot many challenges ahead, it may not be easy for age-old artists to return to the stage and resume where they left off. Being away from the performing space also might have affected their morale, making a comeback hard for many. The perspective of the audience also might have changed. Sitting in the comfort of homes and watching it on their own leisure time, all these habits are going to make an influence. Adding to it will be the constant thought of whether or not take a risk by attending an event. With the numbers restricted, it may not be possible to accommodate all those who prefer to watch it on stage. All these points to the fact that the organizers may have to continue online events and streaming stage programs.

The kind of situation we are in makes it inevitable for the organizers to continue online events and streaming stage programs.

While all these are there, the entire art world is thriving to get back with more stage events, and rasikas gathering to watch them in the real world. Artograph also completes one more cycle and hopeful to continue in the coming year. Seeking everyone’s support and wishing all dear readers a sanguine year ahead. ●

Hareesh N. Nampoothiri

CONTRIBUTORS TEXTS: N. SRIKANTH NATARAJAN, PRIYANKA B., SAJANEEV ITHITHANAM, SAJNA SUDHEER A., VINU VASUDEVAN PHOTOS: ANANDHU MADHU, DEBOJYOTI DHAR, PRIYANKA B., SATHYAMURTHY, SUBHASH KUMARAPURAM, SIMYM KEREMANE, SUGAN RAJ BHARATHI

EDITORIAL TEAM CHIEF EDITOR: HAREESH N. NAMPOOTHIRI ASSOCIATE EDITOR: PRIYANKA B. MEMBERS: MEERA SREENARAYANAN, NAVYA VINOD, SNEHA SASIKUMAR, VANI SANKAR

DISCLAIMER: THE OPINIONS AND VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THE WRITE-UPS ARE THOSE OF THE RESPECTIVE AUTHORS AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE OFFICIAL POLICY OR POSITION OF THE MAGAZINE.

WEBSITE artograph.newnmedia.in FACEBOOK fb.me/artograph.mag INSTAGRAM instagr.am/artograph.mag SUBSCRIBE bit.ly/ag_subscribe FEEDBACK bit.ly/ag_response E-MAIL artograph.mag@newnmedia.in


COVER STORY

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The doyen of

MEMOIR

2020 NOV-DEC | VOL 02 | ISS 06

Melattur

N. SRIKANTH NATARAJAN

I

clearly remember during childhood, every time after completing my role, I would rush to the audience to watch the performance of this particular actor. On one such occasion, I whispered something to my mother about his performance while the show was still going on. Sure enough, the actor on stage rolled his eyes, looked at me, and whispered, “Shhh...”. Probably that was the first expression I learnt watching the legendary actor S. Natarajan, whom I used to address fondly as ‘Natarajan mama’. He was the torchbearer of the Melattur Bhagavata Mela tradition. He left the audience in tears every time he portrayed queen Chandramathi, had them in splits while he enacted the demon king Bhasmasura, and made them stand in reverence when he did godly characters. A true mystic who worked tirelessly and brought global recognition to the age-old tradition, Guru Natarajan was also a kind human being at heart, an able administrator, and a great orator.

Melattur S. Natarajan in the role of Yashoda from 'Kamsa Vadham' play staged as part of 'Dhaatu International Puppet Festival' in Jan 2017 at Bengaluru. PHOTO: SUGAN RAJ BHARATHI

04


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05 MEMOIR

2020 NOV-DEC| VOL 02 | ISS 06

The tradition of Bhagavata Mela The fall of the Vijayanagara empire and the destruction of temples around 1565 AD saw musicians and theatre artists (Bhagavatas) from the Kuchipudi village of Andhra Pradesh migrate to Tanjore district in Tamil Nadu. They performed in the court of the then ruler Achuthappa Nayak (1560 - 1614), who impressed by their artistry welcomed the Bhagavata families and provided shelter. Almost five hundred families shifted to a village called Achuthapuram near Thanjavur. This settlement later came to be called Melattur. Lord Unnathapureeswara (Shiva) and Lord Varadaraja Perumal (Vishnu) are the presiding deities of the village. Bhagavata Mela originated as a ritualistic theatre art form that skilfully blends bhakti, music, dance, and drama. Venkatarama Sastry (1743 - 1809), a scholar who lived in Melattur, is said to have written twelve Telugu dance-dramas though only eleven are authentically confirmed. The themes are from ‘Srimad Bhagavata Purana’, and his primary works include ‘Prahlada Charitamu’, ‘Harischandra Natakamu’, ‘Sita Parinayamu’, ‘Rukmini Kalyanamu’, ‘Hari Hara Leela Vilasamu’, Kamsa Charitamu’, and ‘Dhruva Charitamu’. Bhagavata Mela Natakas are being performed annually in the premises of Melattur Sree Varadaraja Perumal Temple, in connection with ‘Narasimha Jayanti’. Performed only by male artists, who also take up the female roles, the lyrical text follows the Carnatic classical tradition. The dance and abhinaya rely heavily on South Indian classical dance, occasionally interspersed with poetic speeches, dialogues, and dramatic action. The art form almost ceased to exist by 1935, but thanks to the revival exercise by V. Ganesa Iyer through

Right from the beginning of his career as a performer, Natarajan did not blindly follow the teachings but tried to understand it with a spirit of reasoning.

a new group, the Melattur Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Jayanti Bhagavata Mela Natya Nataka Sangam in 1938. His rich legacy got carried over to his son G. Swaminathan and grandson S. Natarajan who revived, popularised, and propagated the art form. Learning from the legend After being adopted by my uncle M.R. Krishnamoorthy, a small-time actor in the tradition of Bhagavata Mela and also the treasurer of the Nataka Sangam, I shifted to Melattur. At the age of five, I started performing minor roles like Lord Ganesha and Bhoomidevi in ‘Markandeya’, which eventually progressed to the title character Prahlada in ‘Prahlada Charitamu’. The intensive training in Bharatanatyam under Pandanallur Shanmugasundaram Pillai further enhanced my prospects. Every year, soon after annual exams at school, we would start practising for Bhagavata Mela. Guru Natarajan was in Dubai then, and he would come to Melattur a few weeks before the festival on his annual leave. The rehearsals would be in full swing and go on till late night with the musicians. There is no kalari tradition here. A month or two before the annual festival we meet, learn, practice, rehearse, and perform. Even though it is a ritualistic art form and not a performance per se, Guru Natarajan would rehearse meticulously. Right from the beginning of his career as a performer, he was different from others of his ilk. He did not blindly follow the teachings but tried to understand it with a spirit of reasoning. He took sincere efforts to understand Natya Sastra and meaningfully interpreted how he should perform. Regardless of the wealth of his experience, the maestro put efforts to know the script inside out.

Melattur S. Natarajan (1943 - 2020) was born to Bhagavata Mela actor G. Swaminathan and S. Kalyani Ammal on the 30th of Nov 1943. Later, he got persuaded to a dancing career by E. Krishna Iyer, the then secretary of Madras State Sangeetha Nataka Sangam and a disciple of Melattur Bharatam Natesa Iyer. Trained in Bhagavata Mela by his father and gurus Balu Bhagavathar, K. Ramani Iyer, and G. Krishnamurthy Sarma, Natarajan also learned Bharatanatyam under K.P. Kittappa Pillai and Pandanallur Shanmughasundaram Pillai. He stepped in through minor characters at the tender age of four and ventured into female roles during his early teenage. An engineer by profession, S. Natarajan worked with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). During his dancing career in Bhagavata Mela for over seven decades, he has provided immaculate guidance to nearly five hundred students worldwide. He is also a recipient of several laurels including Kalaimamani, Bharatam, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Sampradaya Natya Sikhamani, Viswa Kala Bharati, Bhagavata Lasya Nipuna, Prathiba Puraskaram, and Natya Kala Nidhi. - Additional text by Priyanka B.


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Aided by observation and grasp of intricacies of artists of various classical dance forms, he could bring in a new lease of life to the Bhagavata Mela tradition. His sincerity and commitment to quality not only inspired us but was also worth imbibing. Charismatic roleplays

One of the most admirable qualities of Melattur S. Natarajan was the attention to details attributed to female roles, earning him the title ‘Stree Part Natarajan’.

One of the most admirable qualities of Guru Natarajan was the attention to details attributed to female roles, earning him the title ‘Stree Part Natarajan’, right from a very young phase of his career. His grace is something which melts the heart. Be it unveiling the handheld curtain as queen Leelavathi, or the charming transformation into the bubbly mother Yashoda, his graceful portrayal of female roles has no equal. His inimitable dola hasta would put even female dancers to shame. The pravesa daruvus for Chandramathi, Sita, Savithri, Rukmini, Devaki, etc., are choreographed by Guru Natarajan so differently from each other that they add to the freshness of each character. Jathis performed behind the curtain were later choreographed by Guru Natarajan as nritta segments in pravesa daruvus. He also brought back Melattur jathis and used them in patra pravesa daruvus or right after the heroine’s entry in various plays. An all-time favourite, Ganapati pravesa daruvu from ‘Sita Parinayamu’ is set in the pattern of a Mallari in vilamba (slow tempo), madhyama (medium tempo), dhruta (fast tempo) kala and Tisram. In this piece, he has brought in different gaits of an elephant with the pancha jathis complementing the fluid movements. In Bhagavata Mela plays, all actors who portray male and female roles, have to be adept in music, dance, and dialogue delivery. The intonation of Guru Natarajan in dialogue delivery while enacting the female roles, especially in the emotional scenes, always amazed spectators. A personal favourite of mine is from the second part of the play ‘Harischandra Natakamu’, where he would deliver three to fourpage dialogues without a glitch. This particular play gets performed in two parts over two nights. While I used to perform the role of Chandramathi in part one, Guru Natarajan will do the character the next night. Involved to the core The second part is full of pathos and satvika abhinaya. A line from a song gets sung repeatedly, and the actor has to improvise on stage emoting for as long. Incidentally, Bhagavata Mela is the only surviving art Melattur S. Natarajan when felicitated during the 2017 edition of 'Keremane Shambhu Hegde Rashtriya Natyotsava' under the aegis of Sri Idagunji Mahaganapati Yakshagana Mandali, Keremane. PHOTO: SIMYM KEREMANE


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07 WATCH OUT 2020 NOV-DEC| VOL 02 | ISS 06

FEATURED

STRUMM SPIRITUAL

An initiative of Strumm Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., the channel is keen to produce highquality recordings collaborating with leading artists.

STATISTICS: NOXINFLUENCER TEXT: PRIYANKA B.

Joined on

Average Video Views

Subscribers

Total Videos

2013 OCT 30 459K

244.9K 534

Total Views

105.86M

* Data as on 2020 Dec 31.

I

f you are looking for some enchanting music to calm your tensed nerves, then here’s a YouTube channel that offers variety in plenty. Evergreen classical songs in Carnatic tradition, bhajans, chants, aartis, devotional fusions, and pooja vidhis, all embanking on the rich cultural heritage of the nation, Strumm Spiritual sets the right ambiance for the followers of traditional music. An initiative of Strumm Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., the aim is to produce high-quality recordings in collaboration with leading artists. Classical albums ensuring quality are hard to find on YouTube, and most of them are casual recordings from live sessions. Strumm is an exception, and the channel established in the year 2013 has produced over 530 videos, fetching them more than 444K subscribers. The initial productions incorporated simple graphics and random clips. Later, focussed attempts emerged, featuring upcoming talents and shot in picturesque locations, which furthered the reach of the channel. The classic pieces rendered by child prodigies Sooryagayathri, Rahul Vellal, and Uthara Unnikrishnan make it all delighting, and most of their videos have crossed the million mark in terms of viewership. Bands like Om Voices and noted musicians like Shankar Mahadevan, Anuradha Paudwal, and Ronu Majumdar add to the mystic feel, prompting the subscribers to listen to the songs repeatedly. Retaining the traditional fervor, Strumm also features contemporary covers of devotional songs adapted into the fusion framework. The Hindi album ‘Krishna Sudha Ras-ISKCON 50th Anniversary Presentation’ by Strumm fetched the Global Indian Music Academy (GIMA) award for the best devotional album in 2016. ‘Spiritual Legacy’ - the album featuring the devotional duets of Pandit Jasraj with his noted disciples and admirers released in 2014, was another noted initiative of Strumm. With songs to celebrate religious and festive occasions of both the Southern and Northern parts of the country, Strumm caters to the interests of traditionalists and modernists alike. ●

THIS SEGMENT FEATURES YOUTUBE CHANNELS THAT PROMOTE CLASSICAL DANCE AND MUSIC RELATED CONTENT.

Channel link: youtube.com/StrummSpiritual


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A guru who mentored and nurtured many Bhagavata Mela artists including his brothers, S. Natarajan has no parallels. Melattur S. Natarajan reprising the role of the wife of Hiranya in 'Prahlada Charitamu' play in one of the editions of Melattur Bhagavata Mela. SCREEN CAPTURE

form which adheres strictly to Bharata’s natya tradition, exploring all the four kinds of abhinaya. In four decades of experience, I have seldom seen him repeat ideas in the portrayal of Chandramathi. To be able to handle a character of this magnitude, one needs a lot of internalization and maturity. Chandramathi, when sold to a brahmin in Kasi, and her son bitten by a snake in the forest, Guru Natarajan would be sobbing with the long tresses loosened throughout the play. Finally, when truth triumphs, and they get their kingdom, wealth, the crown, and their son back, the mood changes to one of joy. Here, before the singing of mangalam, he would quickly put a knot at the end of the unlocked hair and tie a small string of flowers to it, inspired by the belief that women from royal families would never leave their hair untied. Similarly, in ‘Valli Kalyanam’, he would appear as Lord Muruga at the end and marry Valli. Even after the play, he would not leave the hand of the actor who enacted Valli, until the completion of final rituals in the temple. Obviously, for him, Bhagavata Mela was much more than a ritualistic art form. It was a continuation of life.

Leading by example Serving as the head of SLNJ Bhagavata Mela Natya Nataka Sangam since 1965, Guru Natarajan would make sure all needs are taken care of, especially for performances outside Melattur. If needed, he was even ready to make a trip a few weeks before the actual performance to make arrangements beforehand. He would also immaculately edit the dramas based on the duration and requirements of the organization. Moreover, he ensured that every artist got a chance to perform their best. An organization with as many as fifty artists actively involved, differences of opinion are bound to rise. But he would listen to everyone patiently and take an amicable stand. Even in an emergency, my guru would be calm, composed, and not flustered. Once he had to do two roles in ‘Kamsa Charitha Natakamu’ - that of Vasudeva and Yashoda - one male and the other female. There was hardly any time between the appearances of these roles on stage. He managed it by dressing up completely for Yashoda, and over it, wore another layer of costume for Vasudeva. Another instance was during the golden jubilee year of the

Sangam in the year 1990. Two plays were to premiere, and the choreography was in full swing day and night. He simultaneously worked on choreography for the ‘melam’ which was again his master-piece. The melam or melaprapthi, until that year, was only sung, but here he set it to dance. In two sessions he completed the choreography for this twenty-minute long invocatory piece in ‘Prahalada Charitamu’. From then on, it became a part of the tradition. Such was his zeal when it came to Bhagavata Mela. After retirement from an illustrious professional career of forty years in Dubai, Guru Natarajan established the Bhagavata Mela Vidyalaya in Melattur on the 3rd of October 2014, aimed at imparting training for aspiring dancers. He also taught Bharatanatyam to deserving students from Melattur free of cost. A guru who mentored and nurtured many Bhagavata Mela artists including his brothers, Melattur S. Natarajan has no parallels. May his legacy live long for generations to come. ● N. SRIKANTH NATARAJAN, who started as a

Bhagavata Mela artist at a tender age, is an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer trained under illustrious gurus. He’s an ICCR empanelled and Doordarshan A-graded artist and a recipient of SNA’s Yuva Puraskar in 2010.


09 MEMOIR

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An illustrious musical

Odyssey SAJNA SUDHEER A.

W

hen a legend walks into your space, with a rich aura of music, you tend to soak in the moment of awe and treasure it for a lifetime. On one such occasion, the music department of the Maharajas College, Ernakulam, was gifted with the august presence of iconic violinist T.N. Krishnan. It was when the department got sanctioned a PG course in music, inaugurated by the violin maestro on 21st November 2017. It indeed was a blessed moment, facilitated through SPIC MACAY. A brilliant interactive concert followed, with the maestro engaging in humorous anecdotes and indulging in soulful portrayals of the ragas that he played. All the while, he also shared interesting snippets about the ragas themselves. Growing up listening to his music, mostly through radio and television, one would form an image of an intimidating but a kind presence. However, interacting with the doyen at such a personal level left me to astound at the simplicity within him. Even as old as he was, despite the admiring glances and the rush of students vying to get his blessings, he cared enough to have a kind word with each of them. The memory of the joyous rapture of music he brought to the event and, his vibrant affable personality will forever remain etched in the memory of whoever present there on that day. T.N. Krishnan during his violin concert organized in connection with the inauguration of T'puram chapter of SPIC MACAY in 2012. PHOTO: HAREE FOTOGRAFIE

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Quite early in his musical journey, T.N. Krishnan got blessed with fruitful patronage which helped him thrive as a promising violinist.


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■ SUBHASH KUMARAPURAM

A solid beginning Born to A. Narayana Iyer and Ammini Ammal on the 6th of October 1928, Thrippunithura Narayanaiyer Krishnan popularly known as T.N. Krishnan entered the realm of Carnatic music with purpose and conviction. It set the pace for him as a child prodigy who grew up under the able tutelage of his father. He was only eleven when he debuted into concerts through his first solo performance in Thiruvananthapuram. Imbibing his early nurturing education, T.N. Krishnan accompanied legendary vocalists like Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, M.D. Ramanathan, Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer, Musiri Subramania Iyer, Alathur Brothers, and several others.

T.N. Krishnan’s concerts were always scintillating, and the way he brought Carnatic music closer to the common man was a treat in itself.

SAJNA SUDHEER A. is a musician who’s

currently working as Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Music, Govt. College for Women, T’puram. She’s an author and an established anchor. In 2019, she did a 42-hour Carnatic Vocal Marathon to enter the Limca Book of Records.

Early on he was mentored by Alleppey K. Parthasarathy who played a primordial role in moulding the artist in him. Even so, his core strength emerged from the beautiful relationship he had with his mentor and guru Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. It helped him channel his inner energy and hone himself better as a musician. The shift to Chennai in the year 1942 thereby proved to be a turning point in his career. Quite early in his musical journey, T.N. Krishnan got blessed with fruitful patronage which helped him thrive as a promising violinist. The erstwhile Cochin Royal Family, R. Aiyadurai, and his wife Thangam Aiyadurai had all been his early patrons, deeply committed to encouraging Carnatic musicians. Musical genius T.N. Krishnan along with Lalgudi G. Jayaraman and M.S. Gopalakrishnan was part of the violin-trinity of Carnatic music. Ruling the concert arena, Krishnan emerged as a shining star. The expressional restraint he applied to his renditions further enhanced the soul of the ragas. His concerts were always scintillating, and the way he brought Carnatic music closer to the common man was a treat in itself. His performances appealed to them as easy as they would appeal to an intellectual crowd. Widely hailed were his creative finesse and the ability to deliver an interactive, yet intense concert experience. Not to mention the vast and diverse repertoire he represented. Be it a lecture-demonstration or a chamber concert, T.N. Krishnan knew how to capture and enthral his rasikas. What set T.N. Krishnan apart as a musician was the natural way he crafted his music to adapt to the changing times of his era. Brought up in the conventional bani of Carnatic music, he always chose to evolve while remaining true to his roots. An artist par excellence, he could ease rasikas into the comfortable cushion of nostalgic memories and simultaneously held the ability to veer them away, only to expose them to an adventurous journey through the many embellished ragas of Carnatic music. The commitment to the ragas used and the way he brought out its most ranjaka prayogas (pleasant to hear) with effortless ease was always a treat during his concerts. It defined the cause of his musical existence to communicate the eternal joy of music with his rasikas. No matter how intellectual T.N. Krishnan’s recitals had been, there would always be something to take away for the audience, so real and relatable that one would end up loving Carnatic classical music much more.


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The journey of T.N. Krishnan from a child prodigy to a legendary violinist of the era has been a vibrant one. The real crux of his persona would be in the way he loved Carnatic music and embraced both its spiritual and intellectual elements with efficacy.

T.N. Krishnan during the concert organized by SPIC MACAY in 2012. He was accompanied by T'puram V. Surendran on the mridangam and Thrippunithura Radhakrishnan on the ghatam. PHOTO: SUBHASH KUMARAPURAM

artograph Impeccable journey The journey of T.N. Krishnan from a child prodigy to a legendary violinist of the era has been a vibrant one. Of all the hats he wore, the most enduring one would have been that of a guru. He taught in the traditional sampradaya but was also adept in imparting knowledge in a modern format. He worked as the Professor of Music at the Music College, Chennai where he rose to be its principal. He later became the Dean of School of Music and Fine Arts, University of Delhi. Fondly known as Professor Krishnan in the music world, he won many awards, including the Padma Shri (1973), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1974), Sangita Kalanidhi from the Madras Music Academy (1980), Padma Bhushan (1992), and Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (2006). Between 1991 and 1993 he also served as the Vice-chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi. His disciples include acclaimed artists like Charumathi Raghuraman apart from his children Viji Krishnan and Sriram Krishnan. Viji would always remember him as a strict but endearing father and a benevolent guru. He always gave his disciples the freedom and space to evolve and pursue their interpretations of Carnatic music. The foundation he laid for his disciples was inherently so strong that one would always find the traditional heritage intact in their music. The magnum opus collection of brilliant gems crafted and presented ever so beautifully over the years by the maestro will ring in the souls of music lovers. The real crux of his persona would be in the way he loved Carnatic music and embraced both its spiritual and intellectual elements with efficacy. He married Kamala Krishnan, and they have been together for six decades until on 3rd November 2020, when T.N. Krishnan passed away at the age of 92. He left a large void in the sterling history of Carnatic music along with the rich treasure trove of memories each of his rasikas would have gathered over the decades. â—?


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INSPIRE

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ആഴിയും

തിരയും

കാറ്റും

സജനീവ് ഇത്തിത്താനം

ങ്കരാചാര്യകൃതമായ 'സൗന്ദര്യലഹരി'യിൽ ഒരിടത്ത് പാർവ്വതി പരമേശ്വരന്റെ അപദാനങ്ങൾ പാടുമ്പോൾ സംഗീതദേവതയായ സരസ്വതി തന്റെ വീണ ഒരു പട്ടുതുണിക�ൊണ്ട് മൂടിവച്ചതായി പറയുന്നു. ചില അഴകുകൾ അങ്ങനെയാണ്. അതിന്റെ സൗന്ദര്യാനുഭവത്തിനു മുൻപിൽ മറ്റനുഭവങ്ങൾക്ക് മൂടിവച്ച പ്രതീതിയാണുണ്ടാവുക. അതുക�ൊണ്ടാണ് ആഴത്തിലുള്ള സൗന്ദര്യാത്മകതയെ പേറുന്ന കവിതകൾക്ക് ക�ൊടുക്കുന്ന സംഗീതം പലപ്പോഴും വെറും അണിയലങ്ങളുടെ സ്ഥാനം വഹിക്കുന്നത്. കാവ്യാനുഭൂതിയെ കുറച്ചെങ്കിലും മനസ്സിലാക്കാൻ കഴിയാത്തവരാണ് സംഗീതം നൽകാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുന്നതെങ്കിൽ അത�ൊരു തികഞ്ഞ പരാജയമായി മാറാനാണ് സാധ്യതയും. ഈയ�ൊരു പശ്ചാത്തലത്തിൽ, പ്രശസ്ത കർണ്ണാടക സംഗീതജ്ഞൻ ടി.എം. കൃഷ്ണ മഹാനായ ദാർശനികനും കവിയുമായ ശ്രീനാരായണ ഗുരുവിന്റെ കൃതികൾ പാടിയതിനെ ഒന്നടുത്തറിയാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുകയാണിവിടെ.

ഗുരുദേവ വചനങ്ങളുടെ ശതാബ്ദി സ്മാരകമായി തിരുവനന്തപുരത്ത് മുഖ്യമന്ത്രി അനാച്ഛാദനം ചെയ്ത ശ്രീ നാരായണഗുരുവിന്റെ പ്രതിമ. ഉണ്ണി കാനായിയാണ് ശില്പി. PHOTO: PRIYANKA B.


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INSPIRE

2020 NOV-DEC| VOL 02 | ISS 06

ഒരിക്കൽ നിത്യചൈതന്യയതി അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ ശിഷ്യനായ ഷൗക്കത്തിന�ോട് നാരായണ ഗുരുവിന്റെ 'ആത്മോപദേശശതകം' വായിക്കാൻ പറയുന്നു. ഏത�ോ ഒരീണത്തിൽ പാടാൻ തുനിഞ്ഞ ഷൗക്കത്തിനെ "പാട്ടുപാടാനല്ല പറഞ്ഞത് ആത്മോപദേശശതകം വായിക്കാനാണ് " എന്നു യതി തിരുത്തിയത്രേ. തികഞ്ഞ ശ്രദ്ധയ�ോടെ അർത്ഥമറിഞ്ഞ് അനുഭവിച്ചുള്ള വായനയും പാട്ടായി പാടുന്നതും രണ്ടു കാര്യങ്ങളെയാണ് ലക്ഷ്യം വയ്ക്കുന്നതെന്നാണ് യതി തന്റെ ശിഷ്യനു പറഞ്ഞു ക�ൊടുത്തത്. ഒരു രചന അതിന്റെ ആശയലക്ഷ്യത്തിൽ വായിക്കപ്പെടുന്നതും അതു തന്നെ സംഗീതാത്മകമായി കേൾക്കപ്പെടുന്നതും രണ്ടു രീതിയിലുള്ള ആസ്വാദനമായി കരുതുന്നതാണ് കൂടുതൽ ശരി.

ഭാഷാപരമായ പ്രതിബന്ധങ്ങളുണ്ടെങ്കിലും നല്ല രീതിയിൽ സംഗീതം ചേർക്കപ്പെട്ട ധാരാളം കീർത്തനങ്ങളും സ്തുതികളും ജനമനസ്സുകളിൽ സ്ഥിരപ്രതിഷ്ഠ നേടിയിട്ടുണ്ട്. എം.എസ്. സുബ്ബലക്ഷ്മി പാടിയ 'വെങ്കിടേശ്വര സുപ്രഭാതം' അതിന�ൊന്നാന്തരം ഉദാഹരണമാണ്. കർണ്ണാടകസംഗീതത്തിന്റെ അകമ്പടിയ�ോടെ പുറത്തുവന്ന ആ കീർത്തനങ്ങൾ ജനങ്ങൾ എക്കാലവും ആസ്വദിക്കുന്നത് അതിന്റെ അർത്ഥവ്യാപ്തി മനസ്സിലാക്കിയിട്ടല്ല. മറിച്ച് ആ സംഗീതം ജനങ്ങളുടെ ഇടയിൽ സൃഷ്ടിച്ചെടുത്ത ചില പ്രതീതികൾ ക�ൊണ്ടാണ്. അത് പ്രഭാതത്തേയും വെങ്കിടേശ്വരനേയും ഭക്തിയേയും ചേർത്ത് സുപ്രഭാതം എന്ന മൂർത്തമായ ഒരു ബ�ോധശില്പത്തെ തലമുറകളുടെ ക�ോശാന്തരങ്ങളിൽ ഉറപ്പിച്ചു. തീർച്ചയായും അർത്ഥഗരിമയെ ഉൾക്കൊള്ളുന്ന ഭാവസമ്പുഷ്ടമായ ഈണമാണ് ഗുരുദേവകൃതികൾക്കു ക�ൊടുക്കുന്നതെങ്കിൽ ഗുരു തന്നെയായിരിക്കും ജനങ്ങളുടെ സഹജാവബ�ോധത്തിൽ മൂർത്തമാവുക. എന്നാൽ അത് മനസിലാക്കാൻ കാലങ്ങളെടുക്കും. അതിനാൽ ടി.എം. കൃഷ്ണ ഗുരുദേവകൃതികൾ പാടുമ്പോൾ അതിനു സാധിച്ചുവ�ോ എന്ന് ഇപ്പോൾ പൂർണ്ണമായും പറയാനാകില്ല. എങ്കിലും സംഗീതത്തേയും ഗുരുവിനേയും ഒരുപ�ോലെ സ്നേഹിച്ചും ആസ്വദിച്ചും കഴിയുന്നവർക്ക്

artograph

ഭാഷാപരമായ പ്രതിബന്ധങ്ങളുണ്ടെങ്കിലും നല്ല രീതിയിൽ സംഗീതം ചേർക്കപ്പെട്ട ധാരാളം കീർത്തനങ്ങളും സ്തുതികളും ജനമനസ്സുകളിൽ സ്ഥിരപ്രതിഷ്ഠ നേടിയിട്ടുണ്ട്.

GAANA - HYMNS OF SREE NARAYANA GURU tinyurl.com/ag-gaana-sng

2018 ഡിസംബറിൽ കേരള സർവകലാശാല സെനറ്റ് ഹാളിൽ നടന്ന കച്ചേരിയിൽ ടി.എം. കൃഷ്ണ പാടുന്നു. PHOTO: SUBHASH KUMARAPURAM


artograph കൃഷ്ണയുടെ ആലാപനം കണ്ണുകളെ നനയിക്കുന്ന വിധത്തിൽ സാന്ദ്രമധുരമായിത്തീരുന്നുണ്ട്.

ഗുരുദേവകൃതികളുടെ മുൻ സംഗീതമാതൃകകൾ

INSPIRE

2020 NOV-DEC | VOL 02 | ISS 06

അവസാനമിറങ്ങിയ 'യുഗപുരുഷ'നിലടക്കം ഒരുപിടി ചലച്ചിത്രങ്ങളിലും നിരവധി ഭക്തിഗാന കാസറ്റുകളിലും ഗുരുദേവ കൃതികൾ സംഗീതാത്മകമായി പുറത്തു വന്നിട്ടുണ്ടെങ്കിലും കച്ചേരികളിൽ വിരലിലെണ്ണാവുന്ന ചിലര�ൊഴികെ ആരും ഗുരുദേവ കൃതികൾ പാടാനുള്ള ധൈര്യം കാണിച്ചിട്ടില്ല. ആ നിലയ്ക്ക് 'നൂൽ ആർക്കേവ്സി'നു വേണ്ടിയുള്ള ടി.എം. കൃഷ്ണയുടെ ഈ സംരഭത്തിന് വളരെ പ്രാധാന്യമുണ്ട്.

ദാർശനിക കൃതികൾ, സ്തോത്ര കൃതികൾ, ഉദ�്ബോധനാത്മക കൃതികൾ എന്നിങ്ങനെ നാരായണഗുരുവിന്റെ കൃതികളെ വേർതിരിച്ചു പറയാറുണ്ട്. ഏത് കൃതിയായാലും അതിലെല്ലാം ഔപനിഷദികവും യ�ോഗാത്മകവുമായ ഒരു അനുഭവത്തെ കാവ്യാത്മകമായി ചിത്രണം ചെയ്തിട്ടുണ്ടായിരിക്കും. ഭക്തിപരമായ വൈകാരികാനുഭൂതി സ്തോത്രകൃതികളിൽ വളരെക്കൂടുതലാണ്. ഇതെല്ലാം സംഗീതത്തിലൂടെ അനുഭവിപ്പിക്കുക ഒരു വെല്ലുവിളി തന്നെയാണ്. അതിൽ വിജയിച്ചവർ വിരലിലെണ്ണാവുന്നവർ മാത്രം. 1962-ൽ 'കാൽപ്പാടുകൾ' എന്ന ചലച്ചിത്രത്തിനു വേണ്ടി എം.ബി. ശ്രീനിവാസൻ, എ.പി. ഉദയഭാനു, എസ്. ജാനകി, കെ.ജെ. യേശുദാസ് എന്നിവരെക്കൊണ്ട് ഗുരുദേവകൃതികൾ പാടിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ടെങ്കിലും ഗുരുവിന്റെ കൃതികൾക്ക് ഏറെ പ്രശസ്തമായ സംഗീത സംവിധാനം ആദ്യമായി നിർവ്വഹിച്ചത് വി. ദക്ഷിണാമൂർത്തിയാണ്. തന്റെ ശിഷ്യ കൂടിയായ കവിയൂർ സി.കെ. രേവമ്മയെക്കൊണ്ട് പാടിച്ചപ്പോൾ അത് ഏറ്റവും വലിയ�ൊരു ഗുരുപൂജയായി ഭക്തനായ അദ്ദേഹം കരുതി.

കൃഷ്ണയുടെ തനത് വഴി

പിൽക്കാലത്തെ എടുത്തു പറയേണ്ട മറ്റൊരു സംഗീത സംവിധാനം 1985-ൽ 'ശ്രീനാരായണഗുരു' എന്ന ചിത്രത്തിനു വേണ്ടി ജി. ദേവരാജൻ നിർവ്വഹിച്ചതായിരുന്നു. പി. ജയച്ചന്ദ്രന് ദേശീയ അവാർഡ് നേടിക്കൊടുത്ത “ശിവശങ്കര സർവ്വ ശരണ്യ വിഭ�ോ...”യും ഉച്ചാരണ വികലതകൾ ഉണ്ടെങ്കിലും എം. ബാലമുരളീകൃഷ്ണ പാടിയ “മിഴിമുനക�ൊണ്ടു മയക്കി...”യും ജനങ്ങൾക്ക് ഇഷ്ടപ്പെട്ടു.

കടുകട്ടി സംസ്കൃതത്തിലുള്ള രചനയാണ് 'ഭദ്രകാള്യഷ്ടകം'. അതിലെ ഒന്നും നാലും ശ്ലോകങ്ങളാണ് പാടുന്നത്.

ആ റെക്കോർഡിലെ ആദ്യഗാനം നാരായണഗുരുവിനെക്കുറിച്ച് കുമാരനാശാൻ എഴുതിയ "നാരായണമൂർത്തേ..." എന്നു തുടങ്ങുന്ന കീർത്തനമാണ്. അതു തന്നെ കാസറ്റിനെ ഗുരുമന്ദിരങ്ങൾക്ക് ഏറെ പ്രിയപ്പെട്ടതാക്കി. എന്നാൽ എക്കാലത്തേയും പ്രഗത്ഭഗായികമാരുടെ ശബ്ദത്തോടു കിടപിടിക്കുന്ന രേവമ്മയുടെ സ്വരമാധുരിയെ ഗുരുദേവകൃതികളിലൂടെ കേൾക്കാൻ കേരളീയ പ�ൊതുസമൂഹം മടിച്ചു. ആദ്യ കീർത്തനത്തെക്കൂടി ഉൾക്കൊണ്ട് ഗുരുദേവ കൃതികളെ ആസ്വദിക്കാൻ മലയാളികളുടെ ജാതി മനസ്സിനായില്ല. ഒരിക്കലെങ്കിലും ആ ആലാപനം കേൾക്കാത്തവർക്ക് അത�ൊരു വലിയ നഷ്ടം തന്നെയാണെന്ന് നിസ്സംശയം പറയാം.

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നാരായണഗുരുവിന്റെ പതിന�ൊന്ന് കൃതികളിലെ ഏതാനും വരികൾ വീതം കച്ചേരി സമ്പ്രദായത്തിൽ കഴിഞ്ഞ വർഷം നവംബറിൽ മുംബൈയിൽ നേരിട്ടവതരിപ്പിച്ചതിന്റെ ദൃശ്യലേഖനമാണ്, ഈ വർഷമാദ്യം മുതൽ നൂൽ ആർക്കൈവ്സ് യുട്യൂബ് ചാനലിലൂടെ പ�ൊതുജനത്തിന് സമർപ്പിച്ചത്. ഇവയിൽ നിന്നും ചിലതാണ് കൃഷ്ണ, കൈരളി ടി.വി. - നൂൽ ആർക്കൈവ്സ് സംയുക്ത പരിപാടിയായി വീണ്ടും പാടി, അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ യുട്യൂബിലൂടെയും കൈരളി ചാനലിലൂടെയും ഈ കഴിഞ്ഞ നവംബറിൽ പുറത്തു വന്നത്. 'അനുകമ്പാദശക'ത്തിലെ ആറും ഏഴും ശ്ലോകങ്ങൾ കൂടി വിരുത്തം മട്ടിൽ ഇതിൽ ചേർത്തിട്ടുണ്ട്. ഒരു പക്ഷെ, കൂടുതൽ അവതരണങ്ങൾ ഈ സീരീസിൽ വരും നാളുകളിൽ കൂട്ടിച്ചേർക്കാനും ഇടയുണ്ട്. നൂൽ എന്നാൽ തമിഴിൽ ഗ്രന്ഥം, താളിയ�ോല എന്നൊക്കെയാണർത്ഥം. എന്നാൽ ഇവിടെ നൂൽ എന്നത് നാരായണഗുരുവിന്റെ 'ജനനിനവരത്നമഞ്ജരി'യിലെ കാലദേശസൂചകമായ ‘ലീലാപടം’ നെയ്തെടുത്ത നൂലിനെക്കുറിക്കുന്നതാണെന്ന് ചാനലിന്റെ തലവാചകം സൂചന നൽകുന്നു. നാരായണഗുരുവിന്റെ ആദ്യകൃതി എന്നു കരുതപ്പെടുന്ന 'ശ്രീകൃഷ്ണദർശനം' എന്ന ഒറ്റശ്ലോകമാണ് ആദ്യ ഇനം. ഗുരുവിന്റെ ചെറുപ്പകാലത്ത് കുമ്മമ്പിള്ളി രാമൻപിള്ളയാശാന്റെയടുത്ത് പഠിക്കുമ്പോൾ ശ്രീകൃഷ്ണ ദർശനമുണ്ടായതിന്റെ അനുഭൂതിയാണ് ആ ശ്ലോകത്തിന്റെ ആശയം. സമാധ്യനുഭവത്തെ ആനന്ദത്തിൽ ആവഹിക്കാൻ ആനന്ദഭൈരവി രാഗം തന്നെ തിരഞ്ഞെടുത്തത് ഉചിതമായി. അവസാന വരിയിൽ ആനന്ദഭൈരവിയിൽ നിന്ന് അയത്നലളിതമായി ലളിത രാഗത്തിലേക്കു പ്രവേശിക്കുന്നത് അതീവ ഹൃദ്യമാണ്. തുടർന്ന് പാടുന്ന 'ഭദ്രകാള്യഷ്ടകം' മുഴുവനും ലളിതയിലാണ്.


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INSPIRE

2020 NOV-DEC| VOL 02 | ISS 06

YOUTUBE - NOOL ARCHIVES tinyurl.com/ag-nool-archives

നൂൽ ആർക്കൈവ്സിനു വേണ്ടി മുംബൈയിൽ അവതരിപ്പിച്ച കച്ചേരിയിൽ ടി.എം. കൃഷ്ണയ്ക്കൊപ്പം വയലിനിൽ അക്കരൈ എസ്. ശുഭലക്ഷ്മി. SCREEN CAPTURE

അർത്ഥഗരിമയെ ഉൾക്കൊള്ളുന്ന ഭാവസമ്പുഷ്ടമായ ഈണമാണ് ഗുരുദേവകൃതികൾക്കു ക�ൊടുക്കുന്നതെങ്കിൽ ഗുരു തന്നെയായിരിക്കും ജനങ്ങളുടെ സഹജാവബ�ോധത്തിൽ മൂർത്തമാവുക.

ആനന്ദാമൃതപാന�ോന്മാദിനിയായിരിക്കുന്ന ഭദ്രകാളിയുടെ അതിമന�ോഹരമായ വാങ്മയ ചിത്രം കൃഷ്ണയുടെ ആലാപനത്തിൽ തെളിയുന്നു. ആദിതാളം ഖണ്ഡനടയിൽ യമുനാകല്യാണി രാഗത്തിലാണ് ‘കാളീനാടകം’ എന്ന കൃതി പാടുന്നത്. ലാളിത്യം തുളുമ്പുന്ന രാഗമെങ്കിലും അർത്ഥവ്യാപ്തിക്കൊത്ത രീതിയിലാണ് ആലാപനം.

ശ്യാമയിൽ പാടുന്ന 'ദൈവദശക'ത്തിൽ "നീയുമെന്നുള്ളിലാകണം..." എന്ന ഭാഗമെത്തുമ്പോൾ ആർദ്രമായ ഒരു കുമ്പിടലിന്റെ ശാന്തി നമ്മൾ അനുഭവിക്കുന്നു. 'ജനനീനവരത്നമഞ്ജരി'യിലെ "നീ ലാസ്യമാടിവിടുമീ..." എന്നിടത്തു സൃഷ്ടിക്കുന്ന ഭാവം വാക്കുകൾ ക�ൊണ്ട് വിവരിക്കാനാവില്ല. അവിടെത്തന്നെ "ആലാപമാത്രമഖിലം..." എന്നതിലേക്കുവരുമ്പോഴുള്ള വിശ്രാന്തി അനുപമമാണ്. രാഗങ്ങളുടെ തിരഞ്ഞെടുക്കലിനെക്കാൾ തിരഞ്ഞെടുത്ത രാഗത്തിൽ സാഹിത്യഭാവത്തിനുതകുന്ന പ്രയ�ോഗസാധ്യതകളെ കണ്ടെത്തുന്ന രീതി സംഗീതത്തിനും ആലാപനത്തിനും പുതുമ നൽകുന്നു. പ്രയ�ോഗവൈവിധ്യത്തെക്കാൾ ഭാവസമൃദ്ധിയാണ് ആലാപനത്തിലുടനീളം കേൾക്കുന്നത്.

പിന്നണിയിൽ...

പ്രശസ്ത വയലിനിസ്റ്റ് ആർ.കെ. ശ്രീരാംകുമാറാണ് മേൽ സൂചിപ്പിച്ച കൃതികളിലെ വരികൾക്ക് സംഗീതം ക�ൊടുത്തിട്ടുള്ളത്. ഡി.കെ. ജയരാമനു കീഴിൽ വായ്പ്പാട്ടും അഭ്യസിച്ചിട്ടുള്ള അദ്ദേഹം മുൻപ് ശങ്കരാചാര്യകൃതികൾക്കും സംഗീതം ക�ൊടുത്തിട്ടുണ്ട്. 'ചിജ്ജഡചിന്തനം', 'കുണ്ഡലിനിപ്പാട്ട് ', 'തേവാരപ്പതികങ്കൾ' എന്നീ കൃതികളിലെ തിരഞ്ഞെടുത്ത വരികൾക്ക് സംഗീതം നൽകിയത് കൃഷ്ണ തന്നെയാണ്. ഇതര കൃതികൾക്ക് സംഗീതം ക�ൊടുത്തിട്ടുള്ളത് ഈ പരിപാടിയിൽ കൃഷ്ണയ്‌ക്കൊപ്പം മൃദംഗം വായിക്കുന്ന കെ. അരുൺ പ്രകാശും. സംഗീതത്തിന്റെ മർമ്മമറിഞ്ഞ അദ്ദേഹം 'ദൈവദശക'ത്തിലെ നാലുമുതൽ ഏഴുവരെ ശ്ലോകങ്ങൾക്കും 'ജനനീനവരത്നമഞ്ജരി'യിലെ അഞ്ചാം ശ്ലോകത്തിനും മന�ോഹരമായ രീതിയിൽ സംഗീതം നൽകിയിരിക്കുന്നു.

'കുണ്ഡലിനിപ്പാട്ട് ' മുൻപ് ചെമ്പൈ സംഗീത�ോത്സവത്തിൽ കൃഷ്ണ പാടിയിരുന്നു. മധുരൈ എസ്. സ�ോമസുന്ദരത്തിന്റെ ആലാപനത്തെ ഓർമ്മിപ്പിച്ച അന്നത്തെ സ്വാതന്ത്ര്യത്തേക്കാൾ ശബ്ദനിയന്ത്രണവും ഭാവസന്തുലനവും ക�ൊണ്ട് ഏറെ പ്രശംസനീയമാണ് ഇവിടുത്തെ അവതരണം. 'ഗുഹാഷ്ടകം' ഒന്നും മൂന്നും ശ്ലോകങ്ങളിൽ അതീവവശ്യമായ ഒരു ശങ്കരാഭരണം പാടി നിറച്ചിരിക്കുന്നു. "സ്കന്ദം


artograph

INSPIRE

2020 NOV-DEC | VOL 02 | ISS 06

16

YOUTUBE PLAYLIST - T.M. KRISHNA SINGS SREE NARAYANA GURU tinyurl.com/ag-tmk-sng

കൈരളി ടിവിയും നൂൽ ആർക്കൈവ്സും സംയുക്തമായി ഒരുക്കിയ കച്ചേരി അവതരണത്തിൽ ടി.എം. കൃഷ്ണ. SCREEN CAPTURE

കുങ്കുമ വർണ്ണം..." എന്നിടത്ത് ആ ഭാവത്തെ സംഗീതത്തിലൂടെ ആവിഷ്കരിക്കാനുള്ള പരമാവധി ശ്രമം നടത്തുന്നു. അതിൽ വിജയിച്ച ആനന്ദത്താൽ കൈകൂപ്പുന്ന കൃഷ്ണയ�ോട�ൊപ്പം പ്രേക്ഷകരും കണ്ണുനിറഞ്ഞ് കൈകൂപ്പിപ്പോകുന്നു! ശങ്കരാചാര്യരുടെ 'ഗംഗാഷ്ടക'ത്തിലെ ഒരു ശ്ലോകത്തെ നാരായണഗുരു തമിഴിലേയ്ക്ക് മന�ോഹരമായി മ�ൊഴിമാറ്റിയതാണ് "കൺകലെത്തനൈ ..." എന്ന ശ്ലോകം. ഇതും 'തേവാരപ്പതിക'ങ്ങളും പാടുമ്പോൾ ഭാഷാപരമായ സ്വാധീനം കൃഷ്ണയ്ക്ക് കൂടുതൽ ലഭിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. 'തേവാരപ്പതിക'ങ്ങളിൽ സാരംഗം കഴിഞ്ഞയുടനെ ഒട്ടും ഭാവച്ചോർച്ച ഇല്ലാതെ ഹമീർ കല്യാണിയിലേയ്ക്ക് കടക്കുന്നത് ശ്രോതാക്കളിൽ അത്ഭുതമുളവാക്കും.

അസാധ്യമായ ക�ൊടുക്കൽ വാങ്ങലുകളാണ് ഈ അവതരണത്തിൽ കൃഷ്ണയും പക്കമേളക്കാരും തമ്മിൽ. കരയും തിരയും പ�ോലെയാണ് അക്കരൈ എസ്. ശുഭലക്ഷ്മിയുടെ വയലിൻ തന്ത്രികൾ കൃഷ്ണയുടെ ആലാപനത്തോടു ചേരുന്നത്. ഇക്കാലത്തെ ഏറ്റവും നല്ലൊരു കൂട്ടുകെട്ട്. മൗനത്തിന്റെ മാന്ത്രിക പ്രതിധ്വനികളാണ് കെ. അരുൺ പ്രകാശിന്റെ മൃദംഗവായന. വേണ്ടുന്നിടത്ത് വേണ്ടുന്നതു മാത്രം. അതിന�ൊപ്പം പ്രസാദാത്മകമായി നീങ്ങുന്നു എൻ. ഗുരുപ്രസാദിന്റെ ഘടം. ഈ നവംബറിലെത്തുമ്പോൾ ഘടം മാറി അനിരുദ്ധ് കാർത്തികേയന്റെ ഗഞ്ചിറ വരുന്നത് മാത്രമാണ് പക്കമേളത്തിലുണ്ടായ മാറ്റം.

ചില കല്ലുകടികൾ

മണിപ്രവാളമെന്ന് പറയാവുന്ന ആദ്യം ആലപിച്ച ഒറ്റശ്ലോകത്തെ സംസ്കൃതമെന്ന് തെറ്റായി പറയുന്നുണ്ട് തുടക്കത്തിൽ ടി.എം. കൃഷ്ണ. വരികളും

ജതികളും മാറിമാറി വരുന്ന, നൃത്തത്തിലും മറ്റും പ്രയ�ോഗിക്കുന്ന ശബ്ദത്തിന്റെ രീതിയിലാണ് അരുൺ പ്രകാശ് 'ദർശനമാല'യിലെ അധ്യാര�ോപദർശനം ആറുമുതൽ ഒൻപതുവരെ ശ്ലോകങ്ങൾക്ക് സംഗീതം നൽകിയിട്ടുള്ളത്. രാഗമാലികയിൽ താനത്തിന്റെ മധുരത്തോടെ പക്കമേളക്കാർക്കൊപ്പം ഉത്സവത്തിമർപ്പിലാണ് കൃഷ്ണ ഈ ഇനം അവതരിപ്പിക്കുന്നത്. ആസ്വദിക്കാനുള്ള സംഗീതവകകൾ ഏറെയുണ്ടെങ്കിലും ഇവിടെ ഗുരുവിന്റെ വരികൾ കഴുത്തുഞെരിക്കപ്പെട്ട നിലയിലാണെന്ന് പറയാതെ വയ്യ. അപ്പോഴും "ഭയങ്കരം ഇദം ശൂന്യം വേതാളനഗരം..." എന്നിടത്തെ രഞ്ജിനി രാഗത്തിന്റെ പ്രകമ്പനം നമ്മുടെ മനസ്സിനെ അമ്പരത്തോളമുയർത്തുന്നു. പത്താം മിനിറ്റിൽ സാഹിത്യം തുടങ്ങുന്ന ഈ ഇനം മുഴുവൻ കേട്ടു കഴിയുമ്പോൾ വരികൾ മാത്രം അധികപ്പറ്റായി ത�ോന്നുന്നു. മറ്റിടങ്ങളിലെല്ലാം സാഹിത്യത്തിനു ലഭിച്ച പ്രാധാന്യം ഇവിടെ തീരെയില്ലാതെ പ�ോയി. കേവലദാർശനികത മാത്രം പറയുന്ന ഇത്തരം കൃതികൾക്ക് സംഗീതം ക�ൊടുക്കേണ്ടത് ഈ രീതിയിലല്ല എന്നേ പറയാനുള്ളൂ. പ�ൊതുവെ ന�ോക്കുമ്പോൾ കർണ്ണാടക സംഗീതത്തിന്റെ പാരമ്പര്യ ചട്ടക്കൂട്ടിനുളളിൽ നിന്നുക�ൊണ്ടാണ് കൃഷ്ണ ഗുരുവിന്റെ കൃതികളെയെല്ലാം സമീപിക്കുന്നത്. രാഗം, പല്ലവി, നിരവൽ, സ്വരം എല്ലാം കച്ചേരിയുടെ കണക്കൊത്തു തന്നെയാണ്. ഒരു കൃതിയിലെ രണ്ടോ മൂന്നോ ശ്ലോകങ്ങൾ മാത്രം ഒരു സംഗീതകൃതിക്കു വേണ്ടുന്ന രീതിയിൽ തിരഞ്ഞെടുക്കുന്നു. ഒരിക്കൽ പ�ോലും സംഗീതമെന്ന പ്രഥമ ലക്ഷ്യത്തിനെ മറികടന്ന് കവിതയ്ക്ക് പ്രാധാന്യം ക�ൊടുക്കുന്നില്ലെങ്കിലും ആവർത്തിച്ചു പാടുന്ന വരികൾ ശ്രോതാക്കളുടെ


17

INSPIRE

2020 NOV-DEC| VOL 02 | ISS 06

artograph

YOUTUBE - T.M. KRISHNA youtube.com/TMKrishnaOfficial

'ആഴിയും തിരയും' കച്ചേരി അവതരണത്തിൽ ടി.എം. കൃഷ്ണ ഇതര കലാകാരന്മാർക്കൊപ്പം. SCREEN CAPTURE

നാരായണഗുരുവിന്റെ കൃതികളിലേക്കുള്ള കൃഷ്ണയുടെ സഞ്ചാരം അപ്രതീക്ഷിതം എന്ന് കരുതാനാവില്ല. അടിമുടി മനുഷ്യനാകാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുന്ന ഒരാൾ ഏതെങ്കിലും ഒരു ഘട്ടത്തിൽ നാരായണഗുരുവിലേക്കെത്തിയാൽ അതിൽ യാത�ൊരു അത്ഭുതവുമില്ല.

SAJANEEV ITHITHANAM, is a lyricist and an art lover who writes regularly on related topics. He has penned ‘Mathavilasam’ Kathakali and a book on Arjuna Nritham. He has founded ’Thalam’, an institute for research in traditional arts. In the career front, he’s a KSEB sub-engineer.

ഹൃദയത്തിൽ സുപ്രതിഷ്ഠിതമായിത്തീരും. സംഗീതമാകട്ടെ ഗുരുവിന്റെ ഭാവതേജസ്സിൽ എല്ലായ്പ്പോഴും തിളച്ചു തൂവുന്നുമുണ്ട്. ആദ്യം പാടുമ്പോൾ പറ്റുന്ന അക്ഷരത്തെറ്റുകളും ഉച്ചാരണപ്പിശകുകളും എടുത്തു പാടുമ്പോൾ തിരുത്തുന്നുണ്ട് കൃഷ്ണ. എങ്കിലും 'താരുണ്യം' എന്നത് 'ധാരുണ്യം' എന്നും 'കരിഞ്ഞീടുമാറാ' എന്നുള്ളത് 'കരിഞീടുമാറാ' എന്നുമ�ൊക്കെ പാടുന്നത് കേൾക്കുമ്പോൾ വരികൾ ശ്രദ്ധിക്കുന്നവർക്ക് അല�ോസരം ത�ോന്നാം. കൈരളി-നൂലിനു വേണ്ടി വീണ്ടും പാടുമ്പോഴും സംഗീതാംശങ്ങളുടെ തിളക്കത്തിന് കുറവ�ൊന്നുമില്ലെങ്കിലും ഉച്ചാരണപ്പിശകുകൾ പലതും അങ്ങനെതന്നെ നിൽക്കുന്നു.

നാരായണഗുരുവിന്റെ കൃതികളിലേക്കുള്ള കൃഷ്ണയുടെ സഞ്ചാരം അപ്രതീക്ഷിതം എന്ന് കരുതാനാവില്ല. ഏതാനും വർഷങ്ങളായി മതജാതിരഹിതവും പാർശ്വവത്കരിക്കപ്പെട്ടവരുടെ ഒപ്പം നിൽക്കുന്നതുമായ ഒരു രാഷ്ട്രീയം കൃഷ്ണ നിരന്തരം സംസാരിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. അടിമുടി മനുഷ്യനാകാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുന്ന ഒരാൾ ഏതെങ്കിലും ഒരു ഘട്ടത്തിൽ നാരായണഗുരുവിലേക്കെത്തിയാൽ അതിൽ യാത�ൊരു അത്ഭുതവുമില്ല. ശ്രോതാക്കൾക്കാവട്ടെ ഇത് കദളിപ്പഴത്തില�ൊളിപ്പിച്ച ഗുളിക കഴിക്കുന്നഫലമുണ്ടാക്കും. കാരണം സംഗീതത്തിലൂടെയാണെങ്കിലും ഈ രചനകളിലെല്ലാം നിറഞ്ഞു നിൽക്കുന്ന ഗുരുതത്ത്വം അവരറിയാതെ കുറച്ചെങ്കിലും അവരിലേയ്ക്കെത്തും. ഒരു കൈക്കുമ്പിൾ ജലമേ ആ ഗുരുസാഗരത്തിൽനിന്നും കൃഷ്ണ ക�ോരിയെടുക്കുന്നുള്ളു എങ്കിലും അതിന്റെ ഗംഭീരഛായ ഈ ആലാപനത്തിൽ നിന്നും നമുക്ക് ലഭിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. ഒരു പക്ഷേ, ആദ്യമായിട്ടാവാം കേരളത്തിനുപുറത്തു ജനിച്ച ഒരു സംഗീതജ്ഞൻ ഗുരുദേവകൃതികൾ പാടുന്നത്. കബീറിന്റെ ദ�ോഹകൾ പ�ോലെയ�ോ പൂന്താനത്തിന്റെ 'ജ്ഞാനപ്പാന' പ�ോലെയ�ോ മീരാ ഭജൻസ് പ�ോലെയ�ോ ലളിതമല്ല ഗുരുവിന്റെ കൃതികൾ. അതുക�ൊണ്ടുതന്നെ ഏതാനും കൃതികളിലൂടെയാണെങ്കിലും കൃഷ്ണ നടത്തിയ ശ്രമം മഹത്തരമാണ്. ഇതിന്റെ തുടർച്ചകൾ കൃഷ്ണയിലൂടെയും മറ്റു സംഗീതജ്ഞരിലൂടെയും ഇനിയും ഉണ്ടാകട്ടെ. അങ്ങനെ ഗുരുവിന്റെ തന്നെ വാക്കുകൾ കടമെടുത്താൽ “കുമതികുലം ക�ൊലയാന പ�ോലെ കുത്തിത്തിമിരനിരയ്ക്കുതിമിർത്തിടാതിരിപ്പാൻ...” ആ വരികൾ എല്ലായിടത്തും പാടിപ്പുകഴ്ത്തപ്പെടട്ടെ! ●


artograph

ART COLLOQUY

2020 NOV-DEC | VOL 02 | ISS 06

18

a shining

MOON in town HAREESH N. NAMPOOTHIRI

A

nybody familiar with Carnatic music and Alappuzha town would never miss the name R. Vidhu, a seasoned Carnatic vocalist and a music guru to many. Popularly known as Alappuzha (Alleppey) Vidhu, he got initiated into Carnatic in his teenage and dedicated his life to music ever since. Born to Raman Achari and K. Janaki in 1965, singing made him popular among his friends and teachers during early school days itself. He participated and won many prizes in school level competitions as well. However, the early demise of his father, when he was in the fourth standard, together with the financial crisis made learning music a distant dream for young Vidhu.

â– HAREE FOTOGRAFIE

Q: Could you spread some light on early years of your training in Carnatic? I was initiated into Carnatic music by Mannar Ramachandran Bhagavathar, a disciple of Guru Mayithara Padmanabhan Bhagavathar. It was brief, and my first serious training was under Karunakaran Bhagavathar, also a disciple of the same guru. I would say he was the one who truly inspired and encouraged me to take music seriously. After learning under him for almost eight years until his demise, I, along with his other disciples, joined under Padmanabhan Bhagavathar himself. He was in his early nineties then but took the pain to pass on


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artograph his vast knowledge, including rare krithis, varnams, and different ragam-tanam-pallavis to us. He followed the Semmangudi bani, but his rendering style also took inspiration from G.N. Balasubramaniam and Madurai Mani Iyer. He was also a scholar and knew many languages. As disciples, we were all benefited by his decades of musical experience. He passed away at the age of ninety-five, and I continued my lessons under two of his senior disciples - Sukumaran Bhagavathar and Suthan Bhagavathar. Sukumaran Bhagavathar was so keen about singing accurately, one virtue of being a graded AIR vocalist. It was under him I learned many of the Dikshitar compositions and other non-frequent krithis. He composed the entire Jayadeva ashtapadi songs during the period, and I learned a lot by closely watching the process.

Guru Mayithara Padmanabhan Bhagavathar, under whom R. Vidhu continued his music lessons after the demise of his earlier guru. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Anybody familiar with Carnatic music and Alappuzha town would never miss the name R. Vidhu, a seasoned Carnatic vocalist and a music guru to many.

Suthan Bhagavathar, while being a Carnatic musician in his own right, had a liking for film songs as well. His acquaintance with G. Devarajan and Vayalar Ramavarma through the Udaya Studio further enhanced his taste in film music. As a disciple, it carried on to me, and I was intrigued by the music works of Devarajan Master, as we all respectfully call him. Q: Your fascination for G. Devarajan is no secret. What makes his music so special for you? Carnatic musicians often give more prominence to the ragas and the music aspects of a composition. For a single line, there will be different plans which the musicians try to explore. Film music, however, follows a different approach altogether. G. Devarajan was a master who could bring that essence of the lyrical text through his music. It becomes more evident when we compare it with, for instance, songs of V. Dakshinamoorthy. He also was a great composer, but his raga based approach often made the songs musically prominent with less attention on the lyrical part. In case of a Devarajan song, a listener will not get carried away by its music alone. Devarajan also did classical concerts initially, but he took the utmost care to keep his film music free from Carnatic influence. He certainly is a textbook of reference to both upcoming singers and composers alike. Q: Alappuzha is never a favourite place for an aspiring Carnatic musician, yet you continued here... During those days, even senior gurus struggled, and they had to take up other jobs to make both ends meet. It was tough initially, and I

FACEBOOK VIDEO - MATHAJATHI KARUPPUKAL tinyurl.com/ag-vidhu-song

R. Vidhu, when finally got a chance to meet G. Devarajan in person, along with his disciple Sudeep Kumar. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT


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eena Prasad, renowned Mohiniyattam exponent, has carved a niche as a performing artist proficient in multiple streams including Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, and Kathakali. An innovative choreographer, strictly adhering to the traditional system makes her stand apart.

FEATURED

NEENA PRASAD

WEB - NEENA PRASAD neenaprasad.com

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Trained under eminent gurus - Vembayam Appukuttan Pillai, Vempati Chinna Satyam, Adyar K. Lakshman, Kalamandalam Kshemavathy, and Kalamandalam Sugandhi - this PhD holder from the Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, nurtures her academic interests and research instincts along with her career as a performer and teacher. Neena Prasad performed at the Soorya Festival in the year 1998 and since then, is an active presence across several prestigious platforms in India and abroad. As part of her efforts to codify the grammar of Mohiniyattam, aided by the inputs of her guru Kalamandalam Sugandhi, she created a distinct vocabulary with over a hundred adavus and charis categorised into groups.

HAREE FOTOGRAFIE fb.me/haree.fotografie

The founder and principal of Bharatanjali Academy of Indian Dances (T’puram) and Sougandhika Centre for Mohiniyattam (Chennai), Neena is a recipient of several laurels including the Mayilpeeli Award, Nritya Chudamani, and Kerala Kalamandalam Award. These snaps are from her Mohiniyattam recital presented more than a decade back, from the ‘National Livestock Show & Food Festival’ at the open-air stage of Nishagandhi, T’puram. The event turned out to be a special one, as she premiered ‘Draupadi’, one of her notable works along with other regular pieces like cholkettu and thillana. The production is based on the noted Oriya novel ’Yajnaseni’, penned by Jnanapith laureate Pratibha Ray, and adapted to the padavarnam format, with lyrics by Anchal Ravindran. ●

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Vidhu Alappuzha, during his twenty-four hour-long concert at Alappuzha Udupi Sree Krishna Temple in 1996. He had the accompanying support of over forty artists, and in this instance, the artists are Vasudeva Sarma on the mridangam and Thiruvizha Viju S. Anand on the violin. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

took tuition to small children to pay my music fees. My family at that time wasn’t fully aware that I’m pursuing music seriously. There was none to guide, and it was all passion for music that took me forward. Maybe, it’s also the way I was nurtured in my early years, being so close to my gurus. When I look back, it was never about financial gain. What mattered was doing something we love the most, and despite many hurdles decided to stay in the music course. Moving out might have helped to achieve something different, but I never thought about it. Meanwhile, I also started taking music classes and went on with it. Q: Early breakthroughs... I had my first full-fledged concert in 1988 when I was twenty-two. It was at Besant Hall, in the Sanatana Dharma Vidyasala campus where I did my schooling, and that too on a Navaratri day. Once I had my arangetram, things slowly began to improve. I was offered stages in and around the town and received the support and appreciation of many. Thiruvizha Viju S. Anand and Thiruvizha Ullas, violinists with whom I’ve practised, learned and grew together also were strong pillars in my career. In 1995 I could do a twelve-hour continuous concert, and the next

year I could make it to a day-long performance. Both were on the day of Vishu at Alappuzha Udupi Sree Krishna Temple, close to the place I lived then. It was not just about singing for long hours at a stretch. Thoroughly learning more than a hundred and fifty compositions, including many rare ones, practising them; it all helped me as a musician. Q: You’ve set music for several songs during the last two decades. Could you please elaborate on your approach? Devotional, light music, group songs - I’ve done songs in all these genres. No need to say, I try my best to follow the footsteps of G. Devarajan. The lyrical meaning, the situation, the ideas to be highlighted, all comes to my consideration when I set a tune. It can base on a single raga or a mix of different ragas. One song etched in my mind is “Mathajathi karuppukal...” on Lord Ayyappa. Sung by Srinivas, the lyrics are by Beeyar Prasad, with whom I’ve done many songs before and after. I’ve set music to a couple of film songs as well. The first one was a parallel film, and hence it didn’t get noticed. The other movie is yet to be completed and released. A long term ambition of mine is to do some Carnatic composi-

tions. I wish not to go with the already existing formats like varnam, padam, thillana etc. but create something unique. Q: Another area you excel is in imparting knowledge. What teaching methodology do you follow? Students are of different kinds. Some are genuinely interested, and others are learning as a pastime or because of parental pressure. In any case, I tell them, it is crucial to put effort, and regularly practice if they want to learn music. When it comes to teaching, I stick to a basic scheme. Starting them on simple terms works best, rather than making it complicated in the initial phase itself. Also teaching students in groups helps. Hearing from a guru alone could be monotonous. Listening to others and singing together often help learners to discover the music inside them. Q: We have a lot who learn and practice classical music, but only very few become recognized musicians. What could be the reason? One reason is people’s mindset. Musicians from Kerala should be exceptional to be recognized here and elsewhere. But even an average musician from Chennai will get instant acceptance here in Kerala. Even the gurus who


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taught me did not get the recognition they truly deserve. It could be also about artists. Instead of being very competitive in the field, people like me don’t mind a gentle presence. Q: How do you think Carnatic music has evolved to suit the present times? Hurried lifestyle and lack of patience have made changes in every stream of life, and the world of classical music is not an exception. I have listened to concerts which were five or six hours long. Then it got reduced to two or three hours, and now singers rarely get time beyond ninety minutes. It is not just in Carnatic, even in movies, the number of songs is minimal or completely avoided. From a musician’s perspective, the challenge is to make an impression in the short span. Rather than detailing, like, in the singing of a niraval, they will go with established plans which appeal to the audience. Coming to learning, it was all directly from the guru in the past. We tried to get more exposure by attending the concerts of maestros. Now we have more resources to listen to and learn new compositions, which is an advantage. However, I’m not looking at the changes negatively. It is something inevitable, and we all have to embrace it at some point. Even when we say tradition, we cannot forget that it evolved over the years, with suitable additions from time to time. Q: What about new compositions, do we need them or should we stick to the ones by doyens? We surely need new compositions, like the ones brought to the traditional repertoire by M. Balamuralikrishna. Though in theory, it requires a minimum of five swaras to form a raga, he defined his own using just three and four swaras. Even better, he composed in those ragas and demonstrated them by singing as well. Though I do not follow his style, I did try the ragas and compositions by him. These must happen to make Carnatic more enchanting. Q: And what about singing songs from other genres, like film songs, in classical concerts? I’m optimistic about that too. Not all listeners may find a concert appealing if it strictly adheres to the classical compositions alone. There should be different kinds of experimentations. When film numbers are adopted, in my experience, people enjoy them. Especially for temple concerts, songs like “Samyamakannorudy-

artograph aname...”, “Utharaswayamvaram...” (both in raga Kharaharapriya), “Sabarimalayil thanka...” (Simhendra Madhyamam), “Arattinanakalezhunnalli...” (Anandabhairavi) etc. which are no less than any kritis used to sing as ‘thukadas’ in traditional concerts, the audience enjoy it. And unlike a ‘ganamela’, which requires proper orchestration, these semi-classical songs will easily fit into the Carnatic medium. That’s also a reason why we can perform them in concerts. Q: We also see many new instruments coming into the Carnatic realm, for fusion works often streamed in YouTube channels. It is all about the way we look at it. There is a well-established system, and the best experience is delivered when different instruments are brought together in the right combinations. Trying something new might be interesting, and unconventional combinations may result in unique flavours. Whether it is doing something good for classical music or not, is not the way I look at it. One need not worry much about it. Carnatic will continue its course, no matter whether these happen or not. Vidhu was married to Ambika A.K. until her untimely demise early last year. While supportive of his music career, she has also sung a handful of songs composed by him. Their only daughter Divya Vidhu is also an aspiring singer under her father’s guidance. ●

■ HAREE FOTOGRAFIE

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Grandeur

unlimited PRIYANKA B.

Odisha tourism set an example by hosting their flagship event, the Konark Dance Festival, strictly following the COVID-19 protocols.

The Odissi group performance by Orissa Dance Academy, as part of the inaugural day program at the grand venue of Konark. PHOTO: DEBOJYOTI DHAR

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he year twenty-twenty ends in a glimmer of faith and hope. With several state governments granting nod for public performances, the art fraternity is all in cheers. The shift to normal is gathering pace as several major and minor events grabbed the traditional spaces, strictly following the safety measures. Live streaming was ensured in most cases, enabling rasikas located far and wide, witness the developments in the cultural realm. Exceptional reception for online events also gave way to focussed efforts, ensuring proper remuneration for the artists involved. Konark Dance Festival, the flagship event of Odisha Tourism, was held in the open-air auditorium at Konark, complying with the COVID-19 protocols. Declared open by Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Odisha, the festival continued for five days from the first of December 2020. The festival was live-streamed across various online platforms of Odisha Tourism along with live-telecast in Doordarshan National.


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YOUTUBE - ODISHA TOURISM youtube.com/OdishaTourismOfficial

Talents of Sridevi Nrithyalaya presenting their group Bharatanatyam. PHOTO: SATHYAMURTHY

The team representing Manipuri Nartanalaya led by Bimbavati Devi, during their performance. PHOTO: DEBOJYOTI DHAR

The inaugural performance was by Bhubaneswar based Orissa Dance Academy, guided by Guru Aruna Mohanty. The group began with an invocatory ‘Shivam Dhimahi’ highlighting the magnanimity of Lord Shiva. It was followed by ‘Eka Prashna’ (one question) a theme-based item portraying contrasting characters searching for answers from the divine self. By taking the point of view of Yashoda, Radha, Hidimba, and Draupadi, the questions regarding incompleteness, betrayal, and humiliation in life made the gist of it. Guru Sheela Unnikrishnan’s Sridevi Nrithyalaya from Chennai was the second group for the day. In their presentation titled ‘Sivaya Namah’, they presented ‘Chapumalika’ alarippu, a work of Guru Bharadwaaj having a recurring cycle of chapu talas as the opening piece. The crux of their recital was Papanasam Sivan varnam “Swami naan undan adimai...” in Nattakurinji. The Swathi Thirunal keerthanam “Shankara sree giri...” followed, and the group concluded with ‘Shiva Mangalam’ paying obeisance to the primaeval lord. With synchronised moves and sculptured postures, talents of SDN Odissi by Nrityantar Academy of Performing Arts on the third day of Konark Dance Festival. SCREEN CAPTURE

brought cheers, as usual. Exciting group shows The second day had Manipuri by Bimbavati Devi and group in which they presented ‘Ghana Baari Barikhata - Reflections in a Raindrop’. It was a ballet based on traditional and ritualistic dance and music of Manipur, performed during the festivals of the monsoon season. In the backdrop of Radha-Krishna love, the

members interestingly depicted the effect of rain on nature, its influence on human and divine emotions, and more. The other performance of the day was Odissi by Sharmila Mukherjee and a group representing the Sanjali Ensemble, Bengaluru. They presented ‘Surya Stuti’, an invocation to the Sun god as their first item. After a pallavi, the team moved on to ‘Shishira


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Lasya Mavillapalli and Aadith Narayan perform 'Ananda Tandava' as part of Kalasamarpana Foundation's presentation (left), and Vikram Iyengar during his solo portion of Ranan's performance. SCREEN CAPTURES

Geetham’. It was a thematic presentation capturing different moods of the winter season. Moksha was the concluding item. The next day began with yet another team from Bengaluru, Odissi by Nrityantar, led by Guru Madhulita Mohapatra and the group. They started with ‘Ishwari’ - conceived as an ode to the goddess, eulogising her in three popular forms. A pallavi in raag Malhar, placing equal emphasis on melody and rhythm followed, and gave way to ‘Varsha Avisar’ based on excerpts from Kalidasa’s ‘Ritusamhara’. It porSharmila Mukherjee and her group representing Sanjali Ensemble presents Odissi on the second day of Konark Dance Festival. PHOTO: DEBOJYOTI DHAR

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trayed the arrival of the rainy season and its various effects. The group concluded with Purandara Dasa devarnama “Hari smarane mado...”, a dance item in praise of Lord Vishnu. The latter segment of the evening featured Kuchipudi by Kalasamarpana Foundation, Chennai founded by the renowned dancing couple ‘Narasimhacharis’. Put together in the traditional dance drama format, the group presented ‘Shiva Leela’, enacting three gripping episodes from the Shiva Purana. The first piece ‘Halahala Bhakshana’ narrated Samudra Manthan scene and Shiva coming to rescue by consuming the Kalakuta poison. ‘Manmatha Bhangam’, narrating the quelling of Manmatha’s impudence and vanity followed, and the group concluded with ‘Ananda Tandava’, depicting the dance of the eternal couple, Shiva and Parvati. More in the line Kathak by Kolkata based Ranan, led by Vikram Iyengar and group was the opening session on the fourth day. They presented ‘Vaichitra’,


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Odissi group recital presented by Rudrakshya Foundation on the penultimate day of the festival. SCREEN CAPTURE

a contemporary ballet in Kathak style conceived as a journey through the traditional repertoire, enriched with pure dance and expressional pieces knit into specially composed music. It gave way to a spectacular Odissi performance by Guru Bichitrananda Swain’s Rudrakshya Foundation. They presented ‘Krishna Kali’, delving into the deep connection between Krishna and Kali. Similarities and contrasts between the two divine forms represented by two beej mantras - ‘Kleem’ and ‘Kreem’ for Krishna and Kali respectively - was explored in this item. The group concluded with ‘Chakravyuha’ based on the Abhimanyu episode from Mahabharata. The final day began with Odissi

Moments from 'Krishna Gadha' presented by the team led by Sujata Mohapatra (top), and Kathak group recital by Drishtikon Dance Foundation on the final day. SCREEN CAPTURES

PRIYANKA B. is a post-graduate in English literature and an art enthusiast who enjoys photographing classical dance performances. She currently works as Postal Assistant with Department of Posts, India.

by the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Research Centre, Bhubaneswar, led by guru Sujata Mohapatra. After traditional mangalacharan, the opening piece, the group proceeded to a pallavi in raag Sankarabharan. ‘Krishna Gadha’, a noted choreography of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra narrating stories of Lord Krishna through traditional songs followed. They concluded

with moksha depicting complete surrender. The finale of the festival was Kathak by the Drishtikon Dance Foundation, established by Aditi Mangaldas. Titled ‘Fida - The Celebration of Love’, the presentation explored the myriad expressions of love, presented in different forms. After an invocation to Lord Ganesha delineating love as devotion, the team moved on to the part ‘Utsav’, portraying love as a celebration. The piece that began with an invocation to the Sun God had interesting rhythmic patterns graced with impressive footwork. ‘Triveni’, a pure musical exploring love as rejuvenation came next. The group concluded with ‘Changing Landscapes’, conveying the idea of love as passion. The interplay of music and silence skilfully executed by the dancers made their performance a laudable one. ●


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vow the last

HAREESH N. NAMPOOTHIRI

With the authorities granting permission to host events in controlled spaces, the last few months saw a few stages going live again. For Kathakali lovers, one among these was Sree Vallabha Temple of Thiruvalla.

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he ongoing pandemic called a halt to all the stage events early last year. With the authorities granting permission to host events in controlled spaces, the last few months saw a few stages going live again. For Kathakali lovers, one among these was Sree Vallabha Temple of Thiruvalla, where the art form is also an offering to the deity. Though there were performances before, the ‘Santhanagopalam’ staged on the fourth of December 2020 at the temple is arguably a genuine post-COVID Kathakali presentation. Artists across the state participated, and there were also viewers from neighbouring places, though limited in number. Penned by Mandavappilli Ittiraricha Menon, the play is based on the events when Arjuna arrives at Dwaraka to meet Sree Krishna. In the opening scene between Sree Krishna and Arjuna, Madhu Varanasi and Kalamandalam Shanmukhadas in their respective roles were convincing. When the story takes place, they have been together for ages, and many things have happened in their lives. They both presented the characters with that kind of profound perception. Krishna all set to have a ‘yagna’ shortly, asks Arjuna to stay back for a while, and he pleasantly agrees. Brahmin’s entry The story takes a dramatic shift when a Brahmin appears in the court of the Yadavas carrying the corpse of his newborn. It was his ninth child dying upon birth. Peesappilly Rajeevan proved very fine an actor, hardly missing any moments that would make his character felt. “Pettu poyi...”, looking to the infinite sky, “Kashtamithu kanmin...”, revealing the dead body - in all these instances the actor’s body language, the subtle expressions all brought the sorrow of Brahmin to the spectators. A similar kind of approach followed in later scenes as well, making his Brahmin unique. The Brahmin complains about his ill fate, and even ridicules the king. Krishna is unmoved, and so is the rest of the court. At this point,


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Arjuna intervenes and gives the Brahmin his word that he will not let it happen again, and he will save the next child. Though the usual narrative implies its nothing but the arrogance of Arjuna that prompts him to get involved, Kalamandalam Shanmukhadas took a different approach. His Arjuna empathises with the Brahmin, not only as a dutiful warrior but also as a father who went through a similar fate. Even when the Brahmin shares his doubt about Arjuna saving his next child, Shanmukhadas’s Arjuna was more assuring than boasting of his abilities. Rajeevan’s Brahmin, at one point, asked Arjuna, whether all the achievements of him would’ve been possible without Krishna. It was at this point where Shanmukhadas took his chance to add some egotism to his character. The two actors working together made this scene a delightful watch. Maybe Shanmukhadas could’ve kept his instincts to make trivial remarks in places under check, which would’ve kept the gravity of his role intact. Distinct portrayal Once Arjuna promises to save the Brahmin’s next newborn, the stage is left for the actors to improvise. The Brahmin, not convinced about Arjuna simply giving his word, insists on taking more vows. First, the Brahmin asks to promise him the same in the

Peesappilly Rajeevan proved very fine an actor, hardly missing any moments that would make his character felt.

Peesappally Rajeevan as the Brahmin in 'Santhanagopalam' Kathakali staged at Sree Vallabha Temple, Thiruvalla. PHOTO: HAREE FOTOGRAFIE


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name of his elder sibling Yudhishtira, and Arjuna, though not very happy, agrees. However, when the Brahmin asks to swear for one more time in the name of Sree Krishna himself, he turns furious. Rajeevan’s Brahmin at that point insisted that he was asking it for his wife, and not for himself. It was a nice touch, but what made it more compelling was how his Brahmin reacted once Arjuna refused to comply with his wish. Usually, the actors show the Brahmin very agitated, making all the curses. Rajeevan here performed it all different. He became very silent, in a way emotionally forcing Arjuna to give in. With the percussion also going hushed, the effect was overwhelming. It might be this last vow that mattered most at the end. A happy ending The failed attempt of Arjuna to save the baby and the aftermath makes the rest of the story. As he couldn’t keep his word, Arjuna tries to end his life in the fire, and Sree Krishna stops him in time. Meanwhile, the boys were with Lord Vishnu, and Krishna helps Arjuna get them and return to the Brahmin. Arjuna informs the Brahmin that it was with the help of Krishna he could save the children. Brahmin was also hoping for the same and is delighted that it worked the way he told his wife before. He was sure Krishna would help Arjuna keep his word, not making his sister mourn for her husband. Kalamandalam Anilkumar and Thiruvalla Sadasivan appeared as the other two characters of the play, that of the Brahmin wife and the old lady who takes care of her.

Madhu Varanasi as Sree Krishna (left) and Kalamandalam Shanmukhadas as Arjuna in 'Santhanagopalam' Kathakali. PHOTO: HAREE FOTOGRAFIE


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Peesappilly Rajeevan and Kalamandalam Anilkumar as Brahmin and his wife in a scene from 'Santhanagopalam' Kathakali. PHOTO: HAREE FOTOGRAFIE

The pandemic situation has also resulted in the start of new cultural organizations venturing into online events.

FACEBOOK - SAAMYAM AKANNORU UDYAANAM fb.me/udyaanam

Kottakkal Devadas (from left), Kalamandalam Shanmukhadas, and Kalamandalam Vijayakumar in 'Keechakavadham' Kathakali. SCREEN CAPTURES

Vocal by Pathiyoor Sankarankutty, Mangalam Narayanan Namboothiri, and Kalamandalam Krishnakumar was another highlight, and they served well. Chenda by Kalabharathi Unnikrishnan and Kalamandalam Sreehari and maddalam by Kalamandalam Achutha Warrier and Kalamandalam Rahul Nambeeshan also was ample. ‘Kiratham’ was presented as the second story for the night with Arun Warrier, Hari R. Nair, and Anilkumar - all from the Kalamandalam school - as Arjuna, Kattalan, and Kattalathi respectively. Chingoli Purushothaman handled the chutty part, and the staging was in the banner of Sreevallabhavilasam Kathakaliyogam. A notable venture The pandemic situation has also resulted in the start of new cultural organizations venturing into online events. One, focusing on Kathakali, was ‘Saamyam Akannoru Udyaanam’, and their first staging was ‘Keechakavadham’ on the twentieth of December. Streamed live through their Facebook page, seasoned performers like Kottakkal Devadas, Kalamandalam Hari R. Nair, Kalamandalam Vijayakumar, and Shanmukhadas presented the lead roles. The whole event, also with the inclusion of ‘Mallayudham’ segment at the start, lasted over six hours. ●


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Delivering PRIYANKA B.

W

hen it comes to hosting cultural events, Kerala has always been in the lead, grabbing attention at the national and international levels. This time, it was the first-ever classical dance festival in memory of Kapila Vatsyayan, one of the foremost ambassadors of Indian classical arts. Materialized jointly by the Dept. of Culture, Bharat Bhavan, Kerala State Youth Commission, and Malayalam Mission, the festival held in eleven days had over eighty enchanting performers representing more than a dozen repertoires. Bharat Bhavan has been hosting several programs right from the initial lockdown months, and this festival turned out to be one that extended the possibilities. The first day of the festival spent in respectful remembrance of Kapila Vatsyayan, had exponents V.P. Dhananjayan, Shanta Dhananjayan, G. Venu, Sunil Kothari, Tapati Chowdhurie etc. sharing their reminiscences of the veteran scholar. If for G. Venu, Kapila was his mentor and guru, the Dhananjayans in their tribute speech hailed her as the ‘wonder woman of the century’. Narthaki Nataraj, RLV Ramakrishnan, and Aishwarya Warrier; all performed before concluding with the duet by Shijith Nambiar and Parvathy Menon. The first meeting between Krishna and Radha presented as a dance interpretation of Surdas bhajan “Bujhat Shyam kaun tu gori...”; the item performed by the couple was indeed a splendid way to close the day. Unique in approach Second day onwards, the festival followed a unique pattern. Each day’s programme - dedicated to legendary artists like Kamala Laxman, Kalamandalam V. Satyabhama, Sitara Devi, Rabindranath Tagore, Bipin Singh, and so on - started with a short video profile of each. Insightful lecture demonstrations of seven curators of the festival was yet another segment featured in each day. If Rajashree Warrier discussed how the tonality of music enhances rasanubhava in Bharatanatyam, N. Srikanth Natarajan and Aswathy

Bharat Bhavan of Kerala took the lead in organizing the first-ever classical dance festival in memory of Kapila Vatsyayan, one of the foremost ambassadors of Indian classical arts.

FACEBOOK - BHARAT BHAVAN KERALA fb.me/BharatBhavanKeralaOfficial

Shijith Nambiar and Parvathy Menon present the Surdas bhajan during their recital at 'Trinetra Dance Festival' in 2019. PHOTO: HAREE FOTOGRAFIE [ARCHIVE]


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Male Mohiniyattam artists RLV Ramakrishnan (from left), Thomas Vo Van Tao, and speciallyabled Bharatanatyam performer Rohin Balachandran during their recitals. SCREEN CAPTURES

Nair elaborated on the technical aspects given by Bharata Muni in Natya Shastra. Neena Prasad, Monisa Nayak, Y. Hemanta Kumar, and Sruti Bandopadhay shared snippets of their repertoires enhanced with charming performances in Mohiniyattam, Kathak, Manipuri, and Rabindra Nritya respectively. The selection of participants from the applicants, supervised by the curators, ensured the quality of performances. Most of the artists featured were accustomed to performing online since the pandemic outbreak, and unsurprisingly here also, they could make an impression in the limited time-slots allotted. However, it was more like a mixed bag, the performers being in the different phases of their career. Seasoned and upcoming The festival had mainstream performers including Divya Nedungandi, Kalamandalam Rachitha Ravi, Parshwanath S. Upadhye, Sreelakshmy Govardhanan etc. At the same time, the festival also offered scope for noted talents like Devika Sajeevan, Dhanoop P.K., Kalidas S. Panicker, Malavika Menon, Mansiya V.P., Reshma U. Raj, Sandra Pisharody, Theertha E. Poduval - the list goes on.

The inclusion of male Mohiniyattam dancers RLV Ramakrishnan and Thomas Vo Van Tao (a French origin) caught the attention. With the specially-abled dancer (who missed the gift of hearing by birth) Rohin Balachandran joining the list, the thoughtfulness went into conceptualising the festival was all promising and motivating. For the rasikas, particularly from the Southern states, the festival served a great opportunity to enjoy dance forms like Rabindra Nritya, Vilasini Natyam, Gaudiya Nritya, and Mayurbhanj Chhau, not often seen across online festivals. Vilasini Natyam by Purva Dhanashree, Chhau duet by Niroj Kumar and Lakshmidhar Ghunia, Gaudiya Nritya by Shatabdi Acharya were novel experiences in itself. Kerala Kalamandalam with which Kapila Vatsyayan had a strong bonding offered their tribute by staging ‘Duryodhana Vadham’ Kathakali as the festival finale. A documentary in honour of Kapila Vatsyayan brought out by her alma mater ‘Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts’ (IGNCA) was also streamed as part of the festival. Organised in ~2.30 hours daily, the marathon performance line-up was hard to follow at times. Notably, when some performances entice you to watch more, the sudden shift to another artist performing a different dance form often gave

a jittery feel. Starting on the eighth of Dec 2020, the performances went on for ten days. It was made available through the official Facebook handles of the organizers. “With appreciation pouring in from numerous corners, and the combined viewership crossing one and a half million, we are hopeful of conducting the festival annually. Also aimed at supporting the artists in times of COVID19, we could offer remuneration to honour the efforts of participants, in addition to bearing the cost of video production.”, said Pramod Payyanur, the festival director and member secretary of Bharat Bhavan. Showcasing the youngsters While it may not be as glittery as some other online events, the third edition of ‘Pragya - Unveiling the Talent’ had its merit. It was conceived as a dance festival for youngsters, by the Nritya Vahini Academy of Performing Arts, New Delhi. Hosted as a ticketed event through a dedicated platform, it helped aspiring talents get a stage, also creating a chance to earn revenue. The performances got premiered from the fifteenth of December. In the five days that followed, each day featured a soloist trained under an eminent guru. The sessions in thirty minutes also had a quick chat session at the end,


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Nitya Gollapudi (clockwise from top), Nilamani Venisetty, Vedya Spurthi Konda, Lekshmi Reghunath, and Shalini Amarneni presenting their items for the 2020 edition of 'Pragya'. SCREEN CAPTURES

WEB - NRITYA VAHINI nrityavahini.nity.app

where the artists answered a few questions, sharing their thoughts. Coming to the performers, Nitya Gollapudi presented two pieces set to dance by her Guru Shobha Naidu, and her performance served as a tribute to the legendary artist who passed away recently. Nitya began with “Swagatham Krishna...” extolling the virtues of Lord Krishna. The second piece she presented was the Annamacharya keerthana “Okapari kokapari...” in praise of Lord Venkateswara in raga Kharaharapriya, set to Adi tala. Nilamani Venisetty, a disciple of Bompally Sudheer Rao, presented three items highlighting the confluence of jivatma and paramatma, using ‘Bhakti’ as the core concept. Tyagaraja kriti “Nagumomu ganaleni...”, depict-

ing Gajendramoksha episode, ‘Krishna Shabdam’, portraying the longing of maiden Usha for her beloved Krishna, and “Bho shambho...” the Dayananda Saraswati kriti centring on Shiva-Ravana formed part of her recital. Vedya Spurthi Konda pursuing training under Padmavani Mosalikanti joined with a Ganesha sthuthi, followed by tarangam “Alokaye sri balakrishnam...”, the composition of Narayana Teertha set to dance by Jaikishore Mosalikanti. Lekshmi Reghunath looked very promising as she delighted with three numbers - a Shiva sthuthi describing the tandava, followed by the evergreen pravesa daravu of Bhama. She concluded with “Pankaja mukhiyarellaru...”, a composition of Purandara Dasa

describing the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Shalini Amarneni trained under G. Padmaja Reddy presented “Jayamu jayamu...” in ragamalika set to Adi tala to be followed by the oft-performed javali “Sarasamu ladedanduku...” portraying the nagging nayika in conversation with her lord. A successful attempt worth emulating, similar efforts are undoubtedly a booster for the upcoming artists. “I am highly motivated to do ticketed shows in future. The performances made available through specially developed app ensured the safety of audio tracks and prevented illegal downloads.”, commented T. Reddi Lakshmi, the founder-director of Nritya Vahini, who conceived the show. ●


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Keeping with the times VINU VASUDEVAN

T

he COVID-19 pandemic has opened many new opportunities to artists worldwide, through online platforms. Coming to performing arts, it became a real blessing for the artists whose sole livelihood got affected due to the restrictions on public performances. Earlier, the possibility of using the internet as a medium to communicate art was unknown to a large portion of artists from Kerala. The current scenario served as an opportunity for many to update their knowledge on social media platforms and showcase their art before a wider audience. Many managed to present their art in front of mobile and video cameras tiding the difficulties. Many cultural organizations and art institutions realized the potential of the online medium and staged virtual performances of classical art forms such as Kathakali, Kutiyattam, and Mohiniyattam. A novel venture Kapila Venu is a gifted artist in Kutiyattam and Mohiniyattam. She made an exclusive effort in Nangiarkoothu virtual telecast by performing the complete text of ‘Sreekrishnacharitham Sampoornam - Poorvabhagam’. Though Kapila had attempted this twice before, it did not materialize

Kapila Venu presenting 'Poothanamoksham' Nangiar Koothu at Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple more than a decade back. PHOTO: HAREE FOTOGRAFIE [ARCHIVE]

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due to technical reasons. But this time, with the extended support of online media, she made it possible. She also had the blessings of her parents and renowned artists Nirmala Paniker and G. Venu. The event was inaugurated by the latter by lighting the lamp reminiscing Guru Ammannur Madhava Chakyar.

While Kapila was at her best in almost all the episodes, she stood out in a few of them.

VINU VASUDEVAN, is an experienced

art critic and columnist with a career spanning across two decades. A guest faculty of journalism at Kerala Kalamandalam, he has directed several art-based short films and documentaries including a biopic on Kottakkal Gopi Nair.

While the text of Sreekrishnacharitham that Kapila followed has one hundred and eight quatrains, she performed around half of it in the scheduled twenty-one evenings, the total video playtime touching nearly thirty hours. The original idea was to go for a live telecast. As the artist wanted to include suitable subtitles for the larger audience, it was recorded and premiered in the evenings. The entire series had some remarkable performances by Kapila. The first episode portrayed the wedding between Ugrasena and Sauraseni, the grandparents of Sree Krishna. The series concluded with ‘Gopikavastrapaharanam’, which turned out to be a memorable watch in itself. Artistic excellence While Kapila was at her best in almost all the episodes, ‘Kamsajananam’, ‘Poothanamoksham’, and ‘Kaliyamardhanam’ deserve special mention. The strict and perfect techniques, unparalleled beauty in delivering the mudras, and appealing emotions were the attractive elements of her performance. Some may wonder how it was performing for the camera, instead of an audience. Kapila has this for an answer; “I felt very much free and comfortable while Kapila Venu, during the performance in one of the episodes of her 'Sreekrishnacharitham Sampoornam - Poorvabhagam' presentation. PHOTO: ANANDHU MADHU


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Throughout the series, Kapila had excellent percussionists, and the minimal lighting enhanced the natural ambience.

Kapila Venu gives an introduction to the upcoming performance on the inaugural day of the twentyone day-long presentation. SCREEN CAPTURE

YOUTUBE - NATANAKAIRALI tinyurl.com/ag-natanakairali

acting in front of only a video camera. It gave a lot of energy, motivation and some freedom in ‘manodharma’ and other acting.” The enactment in the eighth episode ‘Poothanamoksham’ was a rare feast for the viewers. Especially, those who had seen Kapila’s performance many years back would appreciate the more matured and stylised aspect in every point of her presentation. The control over the scenes like beautiful Poothana seeing Krishna for the first time, pampering the child, and receiving salvation turned out to be brilliant. The last breathing of Poothana was a real instance showing her grip on the character and the energy she delivered throughout the performance. Effectively using the medium Kapila’s transformation from one character to another was

also noticeable. The subtle, but suitable enactments in between looked interesting. The subtitles enumerated upon the mudras and abhinaya aspects. Furthermore, the performer herself described the synopsis before each day’s recital, making it an easy watch even for the naive audience. The minimal lighting enhanced the natural ambience suitable for traditional performances, thanks to Anandhu Madhu who worked behind the camera. Throughout the series, Kapila had the backing of excellent percussionists Kalamandalam Rajeev, Kalamandalam Hariharan, and Kalamandalam Narayanan Nambiar on the mizhavu, Kalanilayam Unnikrishnan on the idakka, and Saritha Krishnakumar on the cymbals. Organised under the aegis of Natanakairali, the performance series spanned across

the months, October- December 2020. Other ventures Apart from this, several Kutiyattam performing groups in the state, often aided by the Ministry of Culture and Sangeet Natak Academi’s Kutiyattam Kendra conducted numerous online programmes and lecture demonstrations during these months. Margi, a pioneering institution in T’puram, regularly hosted performances at their Natyagriham. Nepathya Centre for Excellence in Koodiyattam was also very much live, by arranging weekly shows either in Kutiyattam or Chakyar Koothu. Ammannur Chachu Chakyar Smaraka Gurukulam, Krishnan Nambiar Mizhaavu Kalari, Painkulam Ramachakyaar Smaraka Kalapeedom etc., are also in the limelight by hosting various online performances. ●


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R

FEATURED

RANJITH KUMAR

WEB - RANZI PHOTOGRAPHY ranjithjuly.wixsite.com/ranzi

anjith Kumar is a passionate freelance photographer hailing from the state of Pondicherry. Professionally a software engineer with CGI Bengaluru, experimentations with cameras and search for new destinations lured him into the world of images. A self-taught man when it comes to photography, Ranjith’s adventurous spirit inspires him to undertake strenuous journeys for his dream frames. The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, he took part in the year 2017, was one such memorable experience in his photography career. Ranjith looks forward to a career in media photography and has already got his photos featured on many sports-related portals such as ESPNcricinfo, Indian Tennis Daily, Tennis World USA, and Tennis World Live. How did you get into photography? I have always been a gadget freak, and this became the inspiration for a DSLR purchase. Eventually, the camera helped me become a better person, kindled the explorer in me, and at times provided relief from the monotonous job of an IT professional. About your area of interest in photography... I do not want to stick to a single genre in photography. I have tried different streams like architecture, macro, street, landscape, and fashion. Amongst all, wildlife and sports photography appeals the best to me as they offer immense scope for adventure. And your current gear in use... I use the Nikon series cameras D5, D750, D810, and D500 supported by various Nikkor lenses (50mm, 85mm, 300mm, 10.5mm fisheye), Tamron 28-75mm, and Sigma 18-35mm. �

Focussed: An Indian green pit viper captured from Aizwal in Mizoram during a herping trip. The reptile's close encounter with the camera lends a scary feel to the image. EXPOSURE: 1/320 | F25 | ISO 400 NIKON D500 / NIKKOR 90MM F2.8

The Floating Market: As the day breaks, the floating vegetable market in Dal lake, Srinagar bustles with a lot of activity. EXPOSURE: 1/640 | F2.8 | ISO 320 NIKON D7200 / NIKKOR 10.5MM F2.8


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Readers’ Response ‘Pranamamyaham’ ft. Sajna Vinish, Devaki Rajendran & Anaida Stanly 06:35 | 2020 Dec 31 Created by vocalist Sajna Vinish, brings dancer Devaki Rajendran and sand artist Anaida Stanly together in this video paying tribute to legendary V. Dakshinamoorthy.

Watch it here: bit.ly/ag-pranamamyaham

‘Jagaka Chande...’ ft. Partha Pratim Hazarika & Neelim Mahanta 05:49 | 2020 Dec 19 ‘Jagaka Chande’ is a Brajavali recreation of “Bishwar Chande Chande...” - a masterpiece of Bishnu Prashad Rabha. This Sattriya adaptation is created by Srimanta Sankardeva.

Watch it here: bit.ly/ag-jagaka-chande

“Irakkam varamal...” ft. Jyothisree E.K. 05:32 | 2020 Nov 17 A dance cover produced by Damaru Productions features the dancer Jyothisree E.K. and uses the popular track by Bombay Jayashri from her album ‘Confluence of Elements’.

Watch it here: bit.ly/ag-irakkam-varamal

‘Andril’ ft. Govind Murali, V.J. Vedharaman & Devika Sajeevan 04:12 | 2020 Nov 13 Andril birds were used in Tamil literature as a means to portray constancy and inseparable love. This song translates their sound of despair to a language humans understand.

For artists and rasikas alike Artograph provides a win-win for artists who aspire desired attention and art readers craving for good content. Being a dancer, your content is thought-provoking and helps me learn something new every time. The relevance also goes for the fact that it is a guide to look back on all the events (dozens of them) happening every month along with their review by highly qualified spectators (some of them even artists). Uma Mooss

Watch it here: bit.ly/ag-andril

Artist (Phoenix, Arizona)

‘Dhwanie - A Melodic Melange’ by CFAA 01:44:23 | 2020 Nov 08 A live music event showcasing the melodies of Kerala ft. Vazhappally R. Krishnakumar, Sreejith G. Kammath, Vineesh Kammath, Midhun Babu, and Ramakkalmedu Kalainath.

Watch it here: bit.ly/ag-cfaa-dhwanie

Delineating lasya It is praiseworthy, indeed. Only a genuine artist can make out the subtle changes evolved in this form of art over the years. Congratulations, Malavika Menon! You are a performer, presenter, and a good writer! Anonymous

Not mentioned (On 'Conversing Lasya' by Malavika Menon.)

ADVT.

We do love to hear from you. Please do send in your feedback and comments using the online form available in here: bit.ly/ag_response OR write to us at artograph.mag@newnmedia.in