Muruga Shankari Leo’s performance for the Krishna Gana Sabha reflected the purist style preserved by her guru the late KJ Sarasa and her present guru and mentor Kalaimamani Parvathi Ravi Ghandasala. Parvathi is the founder-director of Kala Pradarshini (centre for performing arts and cultural activities).
A B Tech graduate, who is currently pursuing her doctorate in bharathanatyam, Shankari commenced her programme with a nirtha shiva panchakshara stuti (Naagendra Haaraya) in kanda chapu composed by Adi Shankara, which was imbued with divinity.
She followed it up with the oft repeated raga poorva kalyani composition of K N Dhandayuthapani Pillai saamiyai vara solladi, when the heroine suffers from the pangs of separation from her beloved Lord Subrahmanya. She revealed the communication of emotions, which was visually scintillating.
She stole the show with her next presentation smara thinumam sadayam, a varnam in ragam behag, by Maharajah Swati Thirunal.
The song from Kuchelapakyam is about Kuchela’s recollections of his friendship with Krishna and the times they had as children.
Portraying the sancharis, the artiste revealed the joy of excellence that virtually awakened the spectators to realise the nuances of the art form.
The thillana of Dr Balamurali Krishna that employed the transition mode concept of sliding into the next raga was musical in every movement.
No doubt, her nonchalant execution revealed her involvement and dedication to this art form. However, I felt the sublime interpretations with sancharis and rhythmical elaborations exhibited should not mar the nalinam expected from the art. The gripping nattuvangam by Parvathi and the intonation of the lyrics by vocalist Kaushik Champakesan with his stentorian voice, in the company of Kesavan (mridangam) and Kandadevi Vijayaraghavan (violin), left an indelible mark.