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Samadrishti – An extraordinary evening of Sangeeta & Nritya

Samadrishti (समदृष्टि) was truly नी:सामान्या दृष्टि, an extraordinary evening of Sangeeta & Nritya. A superfine, technically brilliant, emotively soul-stirring, subdued enough ‘without the want for outdoing one another’, the “Samadrishti” concert was held at India Habitat Center, New Delhi.

Organised in the memory of one of the pillars of the female Carnatic trinity Padma Bhushan ML Vasanthakumari or MLV Amma as she was always fondly referred to, presented by Sri Hayagriva in association with the Habitat World by two of India’s most favourite artists Sudha Raghunathan and Rama Vaidyanathan was certainly an evening that will be etched in our memories for a long time.

Reminiscing interesting anecdotes of MLV Amma Sudha Raghunathan began the evening with a tribute to “Amma or Mother” and then a shloka in praise of Saraswati taking off into the popular krithi mamava sri Saraswati a Mysore Vasudevachar composition. The sculpturesque postures in the beautiful silhouette lighting set the mood for the evening. Rama set the dance tone with tremendous subtlety giving Sudha’s music renditions sufficient lead.

Is there ever a heart that doesn’t dance? A wondrous conversation between the dancer and musician appreciating the reacting of the body, mind and soul to the beauty of music and dance. Mannadi Mannan was the film and the most popular actor pair MGR and Padmini made this a super hit in the voices of TM Soundararajan and MLV Amma.

Rama Vaidyanathan performing at Samadrishti | PC: Inni Singh

The pièce de résistance for the evening was the exquisitely chosen Karaharapriya RTP (Ragam-Talam-Pallavi) in an arduous Mishra Jampei Talam of 10 beats. Sudha executed the ragam and tanam with cascading flexibility meandering through the melodic phrases and patterns of this raga. The tanam held with dignity the Gambheeram that the Raga demanded. MLV Amma was a mathematical genius and a Pallavi Queen, Sudha made her guru truly proud with this specially composed Pallavi – Kanakasabesha sarvesha jagadeesha natana prakasha describing the dance of Nataraja. Kanakasabesha – the one who danced in the golden hall, sarvesha – the omni potent and omnipresent, jagadeesha – the universe itself, natana prakasha – the million-watt dance god. Rama is always known for her interpretations of compositions in the most unique and in-depth manner bringing to the fore aspects that one could not have thought of.

While they may seem rather simple yet the delineation often leaves us stunned. This time Rama explored the Nataraja Posture describing the one foot which was grounded and the other foot and hand that represented the universe around, the damru in one hand representing the primordial sound and the fire in the other hand balancing the divine light. The Abhaya hasta protecting always. All this keeping in tandem with the permutations of the rhythmic sahitya which is a prime purpose of a pallavi is a tough proposition for a dancer with the lead singer.

Rama and Sudha were like twin peas in a pod complimenting each other so seamlessly and the results were a smooth flowing of Sangeeta & Nritya almost an audio-visual representation of SAMADRISHTI.

Carnatic vocalist Sudha Raghunathan at Samadrishti | PC: Inni Singh

MLV Amma was loved for the second half of her concerts comprising of the ‘tukdas’ and her initiative in tuning many numbers and turning them into iconic unforgettable compositions made her the legend she was. The evening became resplendent with three such gems – in the Annamacharya Krithi Rama described the sakhis asking alvelumanga the consort of Venkateshwara about the telltale marks that were all over her after a night of passionate love making. These tell a story and you seem to be the love letter in it self-say the inquisitive sakhis. In the next tukda Sudha related the anecdote of how MLV Amma replaced a Raga in the multi-raga Ashtapadi sancharadhaddhara sudha Madhura Dhwani. Both Sudha and Rama wove this extremely sweet ashtapadi presenting the feelings of Radha’s unconditional love for Krishna. And finally in the most popular Dasara pada “Neene anatha bandhu, Karunya Sindho“ both the artists created a magical and emotional experience for the audience. They led the bhakti rasa with utmost sensitivity and poise that spoke volumes of their maturity as artists.

The CR Subbaraman composition of the film Mannamagal (1951) sung on screen by Padmini and Ragini or the Travancore Sisters and playback by MLV Amma and P Susheela, a super hit of its times “Ellam inbamayam” ending with two stanzas of Bharathiar’s version of Vande Mataram was a fitting finale. It’s a pleasant fragrance in terms of music and dance choreography made the Delhi audiences give a standing ovation in enormous appreciation.

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The brilliant accompaniment of Shri Raghavendra Rao – Violin and Sumod Sreedharan – Mridangam who supported the entire concert adeptly without overpowering the voice was noteworthy.

Kudos to Sudha and Rama for creating an evening of music and dance amalgamation that was aesthetic, high on content calibre and brought the memories of MLV Amma alive.

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