Neat but short of emotion
The Karnataka Fine Arts Council (KFAC) conducted the annual Kalavanta Festival last week. As many as 45 young artistes from all the states of South India, few even from USA also, vied with each other for the prestigious prize.
S Girija Shankar from Tamil Nadu presented a vocal concert on Wednesday evening. After initial training, he is continuing his training now under Chitra Veena Narasimhan and Ravi Kiran and has won a few prizes also. “Vara Vallabha Ramana” the familiar invocatory piece gave Girija Shankar a bright start, followed by “Bhajare Re.” True, the selection of “Tulasidala” and “Yetha Vunnara” left little to be desired. It was neat but short of emotion. Hence could not be put on a higher pedestal. Vaibhav Ramani (Karnataka) on violin and K S Ramakrishnan (Tamil Nadu) on mridanga fulfilled the needs of the occasion.
Following talented young musicians won the prizes in the Kalavanta-2016: Ishwarya Shankar (vocal) and Ramana Balachander (veena), Sai Rakshit (violin), Tiruchi Aravind (mridanga) and R Kartik (khanjari).
KEA Prabhath Rangamandira
Though there are several auditoriums in the state capital there is a need for much more theatres, especially in suburbans and far away localities of Bengaluru.
In this connection the newly built - “KEA Prabhath Rangamandira” in Kamalanagar - is a welcome addition. It is a beautiful multi-purpose AC auditorium with wide stage, green rooms, toilets and foyer with a seating capacity of 300 seats. In this auditorium, the Kala Sankalpa conducted the “Sangeethakam” – a festival with a dance and Yakshagana performances.
Praveen Kumar, who gave a Bharathanatya recital last week, is a senior dancer, teacher, choreographer and also a recipient of Bismillah Khan award from the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
Praveen had chosen “Pandharpur” for his current one-man dance-drama. Pandharpur is a well known pilgrimage centre of India and Panduranga is known as a common man’s God, worshipped by all class of people. It also played an important role in the “Bhakthi movement” of India and a centre of inspiration for many saints and composers.
Praveen opened his programme with “Panduranga Astaka” of Adi Shankaracharya followed by the story of Namdev. A childless tailor prayed to Lord and Vittala appears in his dreams and blessed. He found a shell floating in the River Bhima and got a beautiful baby in it, who was named as Namdev, who became a popular Haridasa and composer later. In the next scene, the story of Narahari was presented.
Praveen’s dance bristled with impactful abhinaya, crisp footwork and lively movements and drama. Ganesh Desai’s vocal music helped the dancer to go to the intended mood. Prasanna Kumar (natuvanga), Harsha Samaga (mridanga), Mahesh Swamy (flute) and Gurumurthy Vaidya (Pakwaj) – gave good support from the wings.
“He” or “She”?
Mantapa Prabhakar Upadhyaya, who is known for his female roles in Yakshagana, belongs to Saligrama of Udupi district and hails from the “Mantapa” family. After receiving training from the Yakshagana Kendra, he performed with several stalwarts in the field. But he became popular through his female roles in several “Ekaharya” Yakshaganas performed in many prestigious platforms not only in Karnataka, but also in a few foreign countries.
Mantapa Prabhakar had chosen a very interesting episode for his Yakshagana performance, on Thursday. Shurpanaki is a interesting character of Ramayana. Through appropriate gestures, abhinaya, vaachikabhinaya, etc, Mantapa stole the show.
With good humour and impactful “Mukhija” (facial expression), changing the voice from “Sundari” to “Rakshashi” in quick succession; more than all, with costumes and footwork exclusive to Yakshagana, he not only revealed an attractive stage presence but also caught the attention of the connoisseurs, throughout. It was so well-performed that it was difficult to find out, whether the performer was a man or lady!? Anantha Padmanabha Bhagavatha in Bhagavathike, Rajesh on Maddale and Aditya on Chande gave good support.