Other than the usual regular items of Panchavaadyam, Thayambaka- the chenda (percussion instrument) concerts- this years repertoire had Bharathanatyam recital by Rajashri Varier- she was a dancer and singer and also worked at the TVM doordarshan. Her face was familiar to most malayalis- who watched TVM doordarshan- She looked very young and small – her performance was good- but there seemed to be a kind of dissociation as she performed on stage- her movements and expressions were perfect and yet…there was something that I cannot quite put my finger on- that seemed to be missing- she could not complete her last item- Thillana- due to severe cramps- seems she had been down with fever and stringent rehearsals and the travel made her weak.
This year too, there was “Koodiyaattom” the Sanskrit dance drama- and it was much better than last year. The story enacted was a glimpse from Kalidasa’s “Shakunthalam”- and was presented as a visual narration by the “jester”- or the “Vidooshakan”- Each scene was explained in Malayalam and hence there was no problem in understanding the nuances- the narration is generously laced with humour and was a beautiful experience. The scene performed was that of how King Dushyantha sets out on a hunting spree, reaches the forest and there upon glimpsing the beautiful shakunthala is enamoured by her. The Vidooshakan narrates the events with contemporary societal and political allusions making it all the more entertaining.
The flute recital by Sri Kudamalur Janrdanan was very good- melliflous- i've always liked the flute- has an ethereal quality abt the sound of it- but somehow was unable to enjoy Dr. Sri valsans vocal concert much- they said he was good- but somehow I was not moved...Sanjay Subrahmanyan's concert the next evening was a stunning contrast- it was splendid to say the least- I guess he has that quality which can move the connosieur and the lay man alike- that he was having a great time playing with the swaras- added to both his and the listener's enjoyment- liked his rather no fuss air- no gimmicks- (which mebbe the flautist cud be accused of)- there was no "programmish" feel to his presentation either- he came, he sat, he sang to his hearts content, he got up- left- while Dr. Srivalsan, and the flautist had the "presentation" part rather formally- esp the flautist- Sanjay seemed most spontaneous- I liked that- while the flautist had a very neatly charted out "performance repertoire" and Dr. Sri valsan seemed amateurish in comparison- if I may dare to say so- Sri valsan also seemed to slip pitch wise now and then- may be with years- he'd be good- I’m not academically qualified to comment , I can evaluate only based on my ”reaction" to what I heard-
I had heard Sanjay live b4, at trichy- but the crowd was menacing and cud not get to enjoy as much as I would've liked to- the sampradaya bhajan on the last day was good- this same team had sung b4 in our colony in trichy - and it had been a very wonderful experience- here too they were very good- and i think the audience did enjoy it- for me the difference was that at trichy in our colony it was a spiritual experience, while here it was a stage performance.
I did not watch all the Kathakali stories in entirety- just in bits and pieces- this year most of the artistes were unfamiliar- and that did dilute my viewing experience- besides it rained on two days, and the venue had to be shifted from the open grounds to the closed, cramped environs of the agrashala. The puttars were very much at home, and they enjoyed the various programs, I was gratified- they stayed awake for some of the Kathakali stories-
Besides the festival repertoire, I enjoyed the company of my uncles- and their families- I savour my moments with them-
And thus yet another year’s temple festival had gone by…