It is exhilarating to experience the steady, systematic and disciplined progress made by an artiste whose development graph has always been on a higher trajectory. The innocuous enthusiasm and the cheerfulness that encompass such a prodigy’s presentation is rewarding and can always be relished. Young Varijasri tops the list of such child prodigies who have hit the headlines in the field of Carnatic music. I vividly remember, Varijasri took her first bow as a child artiste at a packed Gayana Samaja, one and a half decades ago. She is the proud daughter and disciple of a versatile flautist who is a trusted accompanying-artiste for dancers, H S Venugopal.
Since that first performance she never looked back. Instead, she has widened the dimensions of her talent and expertise. She is well-versed in different genres of music, besides being a successful singer. Performing for over a couple of decades, she navigates with ease through the musical terrains of those genres bringing to her music a flavour that’s entirely her own. Varijasri tells vivid, evocative stories in her songs that instantly transport the listener to the landscape of her mind. Her understanding of the nuances of Indian classical ragas is deep and thorough. This gives her the versatility to improvise on a very wide spectrum. She tops this with a firm grip over laya and thus her improvisations take wings and fly.
All of this found expression in her fine flute recital, held on Wednesday at Gayana Samaja, under the aegis of the week-long Yuva Sangeetotsva-2013, and instantly created memorable melodies. The alapanas, neraval and swaraprastaras turned into lush, vibrant tunes that captured the depth of her imagination. She transcended genres and styles and brought to the compositions a fluid harmony that’s testimony to her understanding of the instrument.
The flute recital, excellently supported by merited young accompanists Vitthal Rangan (violin), Anuru Vinod Sharma (mridanga) and Karthik (khanjari), began with Nattakuranji varna. Varijasri regaled the audience with her selection and profound renditions of classic and weighty ragas and krithis. Dikshitar’s Gananayakam set to a demanding Rudrapriya raga was beautified by brief swaras. Anandabhairavi ragaalapana, in a leisurely pace, exuded instant ananda. Shyama Sastry’s Marivere brought to the table her rigorous training and discipline. Thyagaraja’s Rama neeve gaani, in a pleasing Narayani raga and crisp gait, delighted the rasikas. She not only surprised the audience with her selection of Behag raga for a detailed treatment but also demonstrated her scholarship and flute-skills. Swati Tirunal’s rare krithi Paahi Krishna Vasudeva shone like a jewel in the crown. Once again the talented flautist captured the attention of the listeners with her intellectually penetrating and emotionally deep delineation of Vagadheeshwari raga. The charm of the shatshruthi rishabha was appropriately underlined.
Thyagaraja’s krithi Paramatmudu velage was ornamented with sahitya and swaravinyasas. Her manodharma was remarkable. Bharatiyar’s Tamil poem Chinnum (Kapi, Maand, ragamalika) was impressive.
A neat performance
In a neat Bharatanatya recital held at ADA Rangamandira, Swathi K Iyengar rose to great heights in the display of her talent. Trained by a prolific guru, Manjula Paramesh, Swathi was a picture of confidence and conviction.
Her natural gifts, in the matter of stage presence, embellished her eye-pleasing dance. She was totally uninhibited in her abhinaya sequences and this lent authenticity and naturalness to the expositions.
As far as laya was concerned, she was always right on the beat.
She began her dance with a traditional Pushpanjali and straight away proceeded to render Shiva Stuti. Dayananda Saraswathi’s popular krithi Bho Shambho was explored fully well to etch the attributes of Lord Shiva. His vigorous dancing and varied poses were a delight.
The dancer could sculpt them with precision and beauty.
Gangaavatarana, the descent of Ganga and Lord Shiva tying her in his locks was picturised in a highly communicative enactment.
It was powerful sancharee too. It was marked by a vigorous and nimble nritta. Jathiswara in Chakravaka raga was given a fair deal. Though Swati Tirunal’s ragamalika shabda Sarasijakshudu is a very familiar krithi in dance circles, Swathi and her Guru Manjula deserve to be admired for a few novelties in the nritta sections.
The dancer proved that she has a bright future by her faultless interpretation of the varna set to Poorvi Kalyani raga.
The varna Swaminathana kare taare is in Kannada and composed by flautist Narasimhamurthy. It revolves around Lord Karthikeya. Swathi’s abhinaya highlighted the plight of a pining heroine. At the same time, her nritta and nrithya were of high order.
Wearing white costumes, she appeared on the stage to portray the daintiness of Goddess of Learning, Saraswathi. Padmacharan’s Shringapuraadheeshwari Sharade in Kalyani raga was elaborated, word by word, in the sketching the glory of the Goddess. The shloka prelude was apt and useful. N Harish was the winning master of ceremonies.
As usual guru Manjula Paramesh stole the show in her three roles---as a triumphant guru, as an inspiring nattuvanar and as a vivacious vocalist.
Her brother Heman-thkumar made his violin dance and speak. Narasimhamurthy (flute), Janardhana rao (mridanga), Srihari (ghata and morsing) and Karthik (rhythm pad) contributed their bits to the enrichment of the dance.