By S. Janaki
Highlights of the Vajra Vizha
Sri Krishna Gana Sabha in T. Nagar completes six decades of active service in the field of performing arts. To commemorate this the Sabha is honouring six classical dancers with the SKGS Diamond Jubilee Choodamani awards during the inauguration of the 59th Art & Nritya Festival on 11th December 2014 at the Dr. Nalli Gana Vihar. The Diamond Jubilee Aacharya Choodamani award will be conferred on Bharatanatyam exponent and guru A. Lakshmanaswamy, who has earned a name as an excellent teacher of Bharatanatyam. The five Nritya Choodamani awards will be presented to Ratikant Mohapatra and Sujata Mohapatra (Odissi), Deepika Reddy (Kuchipudi), Dr. Gayatri Kannan and Zakir Hussain (Bharatanatyam). The General Secretary of the Sabha, Y. Prabhu, is all set to spearhead the celebrations of what he calls the Vajra Vizha. He shares with Sruti the highlights of this season and some of the novel presentations the sabha has lined up for its 60th year.
Slated for 13 December is an interesting percussion collaboration titled Frame Drum meets Clay Ghatam – a musical voyage from Israel to India, featuring Zohar Fresco (frame drum) and Ghatam Suresh (ghatam, konnakol and vocal).
A variety of dance-dramas will be presented by well known dancers and gurus. They are Panchali Sapatham – dance choreography by Jayanthi Subramaniam, music by Rajkumar Bharathi (15 December), Mahabharatham – Vana Viraata Vijayam (Part 1 and 2) by Anitha Guha’s Bharathanjali and guest artists, with lyrics and music by Neyveli Santhanagopalan and P.R. Venkatasubramanian (16 and 17 Dec.), Sri Andal Kalyanam by Kalakshetra (19 Dec.), and Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri by Latha Krishna – a solo presentation of dance, drama and mime (8 January 2015). Sri Krishnarasa Panchamrutham by Dr. Rajalakshmi Srinivasan and Dr. Jayanthi S. Ravi will combine katha, geetam and nritya (13 Dec).
Sangita Kalanidhi Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman is involved in two novel esoteric programmes. In Soul Speaks (Aathma Speaks) on 18 December at 4 pm the mridanga maestro leads the music troupe comprising G. Srikanth (vocal), Kandadevi S. Vijayaraghavan (violin), Anantha R. Krishnan (tabla) and K.S.R. Anirudha (nattuvangam and konnakol) for a dance presentation by Priya Murle and Roja Kannan. On 22nd evening, the ace percussionist presents and participates in Jwaalaa – Looking Beyond with a music ensemble of Stephen Devassy (piano and keyboard), U. Rajesh (mandolin), Attukkal Balasubramanian (electric violin), Anantha R. Krishnan (tabla), Rahul Vanamali (marimba) and Saashwathi Prabhu (vocal).
Hariharan will regale the audience in an evening of ghazals (20 Dec) and rasikas of Carnatic music can listen to T.M. Krishna sing to the sole accompaniment of R.K. Shriram Kumar (violin), without any percussion support (23 Dec). Two stringed lutes from two sides of the Vindhyas come together in a jugalbandhi of masters Chitravina Ravikiran (chitravina) and Shahid Parvez (sitar). Another instrumental collaboration is between Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (Mohan veena) and Ambi Subramaniam (violin).
Veda Bharathi – a thematic presentation of Subramania Bharati’s songs tuned by Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi will be presented in Bharatanatyam by four young dancers under the auspices of Natyarangam (24 Dec).
The Natya Kala Conference is an integral part of Krishna Gana Sabha’s season. The convenor of the conference this year is renowned dancer Swapnasundari. From 26th to 31st December, daily from 9.30 am, the 34th Natya Kala Conference will deliberate on the theme: “Knowing Again – artistic explorations of less visited characters from Hindu mythology”.
A programme with mass appeal would probably be ‘Swappnam – Dreams’ – soundscape, music and compositions by Isaignani Ilaiyaraja, produced by Krithika Subramanian, Sreshta and Namaargam Dance Company (30 Dec).
A presentation connecting human emotions and the environment through the performing arts would be Sacred Earth, by Ragamala Dance Company, U.S.A. (artistic director Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy). (3rd January 2015)
Besides the above, as usual, there will be regular music recitals and dance concerts by senior and junior artists. The Pongal Nagaswara Isai Vizha is in its 27th year and the title of Sangeetha Choodamani will be conferred on nagaswara vidwan Seshampatti Sivalingam, and tavil vidwans Thiruvalaputhur T.A. Kaliamoorthy and Tanjavur T.R. Govindarajan at the inauguration of the festival on 14 January 2015.
As Prabhu says, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha is offering varied fare this season to celebrate 60 years.