Text: Kavitha Krishnamurthy
On November 1, 2018, as Karnataka celebrated its 63rd year of Kannada Rajyotsava, many artists from Bangalore paid tribute to the state at Sai Nrityothsav. Diya Uday, a disciple of Karnataka Kalashree Guru Dr Suparna Venkatesh, inaugurated the programme with ‘Hacchevu Kannadada Deepa’, which happens to be Karnataka’s Rajya geethe or state song. She expressed her love for the state and hoped to light the lamp of Kannada and keep it glowing forever.
After the inaugural dance, Nivedita S Dandina performed Bharatanatyam. She began with a Pushpanjali sung in praise of various gods and goddesses namely Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartikeya, Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Shiva. The pushpanjali was in Raga Gambheera Nattai set to Adi tala. Next, she presented a Varnam ‘Nee Indha Mayam’ narrating the story of a Virothkhandita Natali who is deeply in love with Lord Krishna. Composed by Papanasam Sivan, the Varnam was in Raga Dhanyasi and Tala Adi. She ended with Aigiri Nandini an Adi Shankaracharya composition sung in praise of Goddess Shakti. Music composed in Raga Malika was set to Adi tala.
Next was Chitra C. Warrier who presented Bharatanatyam. Starting with a Mallari in Chaturashra Eka tala, Chitra continued with a Shloka followed by a Kouthuvam on Lord Nataraja. She moved to present one of Rama Vaidyanathan’s special choreography work called ‘Divine Cowherd’ where the dancer depicted various episodes of Lord Krishna. She ended with a Bhajan ‘Thumaka Chalata Ramachandra’, a composition of Tulsidas. All items were wisely chosen and well executed by Chitra.
What came next was something that Bangalore hadn’t witnessed before. Kathak exponent Durga Arya gave the spectators a visual treat with her grace and subtle expression. Durga Arya has carved a niche for herself in the world of Kathak. She currently practices the Lucknow Gharana style of Kathak which was taught to her by Pt. Birju Maharaj. She commenced her recital with a Shiva Vandana called ‘Ardhang’, a composition of Pt. Birju Maharaj. Next, she presented ‘Dhamar’ a rhythmic composition set to 14 beat time cycle of Taal Dhamar. Joining her in this were Sampada Pillai and Veena Bhat who had been trained by Durga Arya in a workshop. She concluded with ‘Krishna nee begane baro’, a Devaranama composed by Purandara Dasa. She chose to present this as a tribute to Kannada on Rajyotsava day. As a token of love, students of Shweta Venkatesh performed ‘Raag Taal Maal’, a Kathak item in front of Durga Arya. They won a lot of love, blessings and appreciation from her. The evening ended with a felicitation to all the artists by Sai Venkatesh.