The Tiruppugazh Eru mayil eri vilayadum sung to the rhythmic refrains of the Alarippu was given an vibrant interpretation by young dancer Anwesha Das, who captured the myriad colours and movements of a peacock in her introductory song at the Music Academy dance festival.
The dancer chose the beautiful ragamalika varnam composed by Dandayudhapani Pillai, Swamiyai azhaithodi vaa sakhiye, wherein the heroine cajoles and pleads with her confidante to go and fetch her Lord. The portrayal of the various musical instruments played in the procession, the movements of the dancing girls and the resplendent image of her Lord on the palanquin brought alive the grandeur of the procession, before establishing that it is Lord Siva, who rides on the palanquin, the one tormenting her.
The theermanam that followed was so long that the one almost forgot the theme of the piece. Thankfully, the subsequent jathikorvais in varied nadais were brief and the dancer impressed with clarity of footwork and graceful movements. The snake post at the end of each swara passage in the charanam was an interesting touch relating to the hero of the song.
The richness of the musical score with ragas like Vasantha, Bhairavi, Saranga, Kanada and Arabhi and the poetic lyrics gave scope for imaginative explorations. The sancharis used by the dancer to show river, sky, flora and fauna to highlight the bounty of nature for the line Thamadham eno vasantha was an engrossing study in contrast what with her mind troubled by the separation.
The varied descriptions of Siva and the emotions of desperation, anticipation and expectation came through effectively to capture the mood of the heroine in the varnam.
The Begada raga Subburama Aiyar padam, Yarukkagilum bhayama, showing a heroine who is proud of her fortune and association with her Dorai and the Periaswamy Thooran padam, Thottu Thottu Pesugiran, depicting an innocent maid being teased by Krishna and her mixed feelings for him, were the two types of nayikas chosen for abhinaya and Anwesha's depiction sustained interest.
The popular Oothukadu Kalinga Nardana thillana that was taken up did not have the necessary impact as the struggle between Krishna and the snake was not captured in a powerful manner. Anwesha's performance was a testimony to her talent, but she is at a stage when she needs to explore and charter her own path of self discovery and evolve a signature style.
Hariprasad supported on the vocals, aided by Kalaiarasan on the violin, Guru Bharadwaj on the mridangam and Sruti Sagar on the flute. Guru Urmila Satyanarayana weilded the cymbals.