By Sulochana Saralaya
Famous Bharatanatyam exponent and former star of the silver screen, Vyjayanthimala Bali, sprang a pleasant surprise on art lovers of North Bangalore, when she presented a Carnatic vocal concert on 20 June 2015 under the auspices of M.E.S. Kalavedi. The well attended performance -- Ammanni Iyengar Memorial Endowment concert -- was held in the renovated auditorium of M.E.S. College, Malleswaram.
Vyjayanthimala called it Nadanubhavam – a tryst with music – as the performance with mridangam, flute and male vocal support did not include elaborate raga alapana, niraval and swaraprastara. The concert comprising compositions of the Trinity, Swati Tirunal, Narayana Teertha, Subramania Bharati and Tanjavur Sankara Iyer, laid emphasis on the emotional content of the lyrics. Vyjayanthimala being a sensitive artist and exponent of Bharatanatyam, was able to infuse bhava into the sahitya, especially in the Devagandhari (Enneramum un sannidhiyil), and Bagesree (Govindamiha gopikananda) compositions. Popular Kannada poet Pu.Ti. Narasimhachar's Ako Shyama avale Radhe, rendered in Poorvikalyani was another gem.
The concert which commenced with Dikshitar's Sree Parthasarathey, included Sujana jeevana of Tyagaraja, Swati Tirunal's Kapi varnam Sumasayaka, Syama Sastry's Kanakasaila viharini, a bhajan, tillana, a Divya Prabandham, and concluded with a Tiruppavai verse. Vyjayanthimala's intuitive feel for raga bhava, voice production in the lower octaves, perfect diction in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and Kannada, and her zest and enthusiasm, deserved the long ovation she received at the end of the concert. The presentation was marked by elegance and aesthetics in music and attire.
Vyjayanthimala had the good support of talented youngsters Girija Shankar (vocal), Shruti Sagar (flute) and Srivanchiam Sriram (mridangam). It was interesting to note that Vyjayanthimala's voice, while she sang, resembled that of her guru, D.K. Pattammal. It was not a usual kutcheri but an offering. True to its title, it was an enjoyable musical experience.