Amritanjali Festival 2018, a festival of Classical Dance & Music, held on 15th April 2018 opened to a packed audience at the Amritanjali Studio. An initiative of renowned Bharatanatyan danseuse, Dr. Shashikala Ravi, Founder Director of Amritanjali Dance School of Bharatanatyam in Pune, this festival witnessed exhilarating performances by stalwarts Guru Lakshmi Viswanathan, Shubashree R and Dr. Shashikala Ravi herself.
The festival commenced with an invocatory performance by Dr. Shashikala Ravi. She performed two compositions of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal – Shankarashrigiri in Ragam Hamsanandi set to Aditalam and Gopalaka Pahimam Anisham in Ragam Revagupti set to Misra Chapu Talam. Both the items were choreographed by her and presented to perfection. The presentation of Karanas at the end of Shankarashrigiri gave a very classy touch to the composition. Gopalaka Pahimam was beautifully choreographed like a varnam with jathis and sancharis. She brought out incidents from Krishna’s life from his childhood and adulthood which made the composition very interesting and enjoyable. She had excellent music support by Shri Sivaprasad N.N. (from Mumbai) – Vocal, Shri Shankaranarayanan S (from Mumbai) – Mridangam, Shri Sanjay Sasidharan – Flute and Nattuvangam by Karthika Prasad (her student).
Guru Lakshmi Viswanathan a legendary figure presented Shringra Manjari, a collection of Padams, Ashtapadi and Abhang bringing out Shringara bhava. Abhinaya is Guruji’s forte and she presented the compositions of Kshetrayya, Jayadeva ,Appar, Gopalakrishna Bharati with absolute ease. She started with a poem in Tamil in praise of Shiva composed by the poet Appar followed by a composition by Gopalakrishna Bharati in Ragam Devagandhari set to Aditalam. A tamilpadam Edukittanai in Ragam Surati set to Rupakatalam was simply outstanding where the Nayika asks the Nayaka why he was showing so much attitude when she had not said anything about him to anyone. The javali Nee Matale in Poorvikalyani set to Adi tala by Dharmapuri Subbarayar brought out the Khandita Nayika in a superb manner where she asks the Nayaka why he has come when he has not kept up his promises of filling her with gifts? Her lucid and witty explanations before each composition made it very easy for even a lay person to enjoy the padam. She ended with Marathi Abhang Brindavani in Raag Bhimpalas. The Punekars simply loved it. Her mastery over the Abhinaya showed in her performance. She was accompanied on vocal by Smt. Bama Visveswaran, on Veena by Shri S.N Ramesh and on Mridangam by Shri Shanker Jagadesan who had all travelled from Chennai.
Shubashree R gave a very lively vocal concert. Gifted with a beautiful voice and trained under very highly accomplished parents (Padmabhushan Sangita Kalanidhi Trichur Ramachandran and Kalaimamani Charumathi Ramachandran) Shubashree handled the difficult compositions with ease. She began with Mathey..in Ragam Khamas set to Aditalam composed by Muthiah Bhagvathar. This was followed by other songs like Gam Ganapatage in Hamsadhwani set to Aditalam. Other songs included Saamagana Loley in Hindolam set to Rupakatalam (composer GNB), Manavyaala in Ragam Nalinakanthi and Aditaalam (composer Tyagaraja), Vaasudevayani in Ragam Kalyani set to Aditalam (composer Tyagaraja). She ended with Kalyana Gopalam in Ragam Sindhu Bhairavi set to AdiTalam (Composer Narayana Teertha). The highlight of her singing was Maathey and Saamagana Loley in Hindolam which was rendered with absolute expertise and was a delight to the audience to hear. She was accompanied on violin by Mrs Usha Rajagopalan and on mridangam by Mannarkoil J. Balaji.
The interactive session with Guru Lakshmi Viswanathan was most educative and stimulating with her sharing her journey in dance, how she was initiated into it, role of her parents, about her Gurus, her family environment, her music training, Bharatanatyam since then till now – the changes it has undergone, how should the present day students imbibe it and so on……..It gave a wonderful ending to the festival. Guru Lakshmi Viswanathan was all praise for Dr. Shashikala Ravi, for her polished and enthralling performance, excellent arrangements for the festival, the Amritanjali Studio, its ambience, the close interaction with the audience it provided and applauded the students of Amritanjali who handled the various duties so well. All in all it was a grand success.
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