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    One word governs the whole of "Dum Laga Ke Haisha": weight. It's never really the physical kind, but ranges from the weight of small-town mentality, which leads a family to constantly needle their daughter-in-law whenever she shows sparks of her education, to the weight of emotions that instantly breach boundaries outside a divorce court when the women from families on the opposite sides decide to hug and cry away their worries.

    Dum Laga Ke Haisha
    Hindi (U/A) Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar, Sanjay Mishra and others
    Director: Sharat Katariya

    However, the heaviest of them all is the combined weight of the acting and directing talent on display.

    Prem (Ayushmann), a 10th-fail Kumar Sanu fan, runs an audio-cassette shop with his dad (Sanjay Mishra), the fear of whose footwear can make him consent to an arranged marriage. Prem's wife is Sandhya (Bhumi), a soft-spoken rotund schoolteacher who is not one to back down when it comes to making her husband consummate their marriage.

    Their marital strife, coupled with the lives of those around them, make "Dum Laga Ke Haisha" a perfect slice-of-life story out of any Indian small town, which is stuck in a time warp with no cellphones and CDs.

    Ayushmann fits his role to a T. The real revelation, though, is newcomer Bhumi Pednekar, the weight of whose acting talent is heavy enough to make the audience look beyond her appearance and into Sandhya's heart. The film-makers had definitely taken the right call when casting this member of the production team in a starring role.

    Anu Malik's comeback with some lilting tunes and nostalgia is music to the ears, literally! Director Sharat Katariya's helming of the entire project, where each emotion moves you from mirth to melancholy and more in minutes, is a sweet breath of fresh air.

    And there's something for those nostalgic about the 1980s and 90s, too! Watch out for the sweet quarrel between our leading pair, played out through songs from the bygone era. It could well be a case-study in film-making.

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  • 03/01/15--07:20: Fantastically over-the-top
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service
    English, Director: Matthew Vaughn
    Cast: Colin Firth, Samuel L Jackson, Michael Caine

    Kingsman: The Secret Service follows a story that is immediately recognisable as a plot by Mark Millar, the writer of the comic book this film is based on. A disenfranchised youth is recruited by a shadowy organisation, only to be exposed to fantastic amounts of gratuitous violence.

    Like other stories by Millar, this film is basically the ultimate boy wish fulfillment fantasy: concealed weapons, ridiculously flamboyant fight scenes and damsels in distress. Of course the villain, who is aptly portrayed by Samuel L Jackson, has some kind of annoying tic to add to the psychopath personality. And in this case, it is an unforgettable lisp that is simultaneously scary and amusing.

    Plot points are fairly predictable, with the saving of the world once again falling on the shoulders of an unlikely hero. There is a secret spy agency staffed entirely by stuffy English gentlemen, including Colin Firth and Michael Caine.

    Our working class

    protagonist is recommended by the former and must endure training, danger and some discrimination before embarking on his heroic mission. Ordinary things are often used for lethal intent, in a world where every shoe, umbrella or prosthetic could kill you at a moment's notice. The body count racks way high really quickly, but the fight scenes are intricately choreographed and a delight to watch.

    Particularly noteworthy is a fight at a church, set to Lynyrd Skynrd's Free Bird (yes, the guitar solo). Firth, in his character of "kingsman" Harry Hart, plays this scene out with surprising perfection, reminiscent of the now-legendary Quicksilver scene from X-Men: Days Of Future Past.

    Where this film shines through is the way it embraces the outrageous camp. There is a delightful scene where Hart discusses the finer points of spy movies with the villainous Valentine (Samuel Jackson) over McDonald's burgers and fancy wine. It is all very meta. What it lacks in terms of emotional impact, or sanity, it more than makes up with the all the "whoa" moments. Kingsman: The Secret Service may not be art, but it is most definitely fun.

    This film is very characteristically Mathew Vaughn and if you enjoy that particular brand of roller-coaster insanity, this one is definitely for you. If not, then watch it for all the lessons on being a gentleman spy and the exploding heads.

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  • 03/15/15--07:45: Music and dance reviews
  • Soulful veena

    Yoga Vandana, who gave a veena recital on Friday under the aegis of the Bangalore Lalitha Kala Parishat, is a 'top grade' veena artiste of Akashavani and a disciple of V S Anantha Rao of the Vasa school. A postgraduate in Zoology, Yoga Vandana has performed in leading sabhas and sammellans across the country and is part of the "Sthree Taal Tarang", an all women ensemble.

    The opening varna of Yoga Vandana in Natakuranji caught the attention of the listeners. After the mandatory obeisance to Ganapathi in Hamsadhwani (Vande Nishamaham), she presented that evocative krithi - Mamava Sada Jananee - with good feeling. "Marivere" was prefaced with a brief alapana.

    In between few compositions like - Kanjadalayathakshee and Venkatachala Nilayam - were also pleasing. She revelled in the alap of Kambodhi and more so in the expansive presentation of "Sri Raghuvara". It was delightful and traditional, sans gimmicks. The finale came in the form of a thillana of Veena Seshanna in the raga Kaapi, with a different flavour. Ravishankar Sharma and Dayanand Mohithe supported well on mridanga and ghata, respectively.

    Promising vocalist

    The Purandara Dasa Aradhana Utsava samithy felicitated four eminent artistes at the Our School auditorium. T A S Mani (percussion), B K Chandramouli (mridanga), Narahari Sastry (puppetry) and M A Jayarama Rao (gamaka) - were felicitated in recognition of their services.

    Before the felicitation function, there was a vocal recital by K V Krishna Prasad. The young vocalist is also emerging as an able teacher. It was an exclusive concert of Haridasa compositions, which suited the occasion very well.

    Krishna Prasad opened his concert with a fine devaranama "Irabeku Haridasara Sanga," which set the mood for the programme. Thanks to his training under stalwart R K Padmanabha, he was able to invest his musical exposition with good 'ragabhava'. He brought few gems from the treasure chest of Haridasas.

    For a good measure he presented a number of ugabhogas (Malagi Paramadaradolu, Ninnane Nambide Krishna and Kaava Daivavu Neene), revealing the emotional appeal successfully. The "Snanava Maadiro" was another meaningful pada and "Aadaddella Ollithe Aayithu" (Brindavana Saranga) also charmed listeners.

    The selection of the popular devotional "Thirupathi Venkataramana" served the purpose, highlighting both "sangeetha" and "Sahitya". Krishna Prasad raised high hopes and he has immense potential. Two other young instrumentalists - Adithi Krishna Prakash on violin and Ashok on mridanga - fulfilled the needs of the occasion.

    Lively concert

    R K Padmanabha gave an enthralling recital at the Nada Jyothi Suvarna Sangeetha Sambhrama, last week. R K P, a senior vocalist, guru and composer, provided a variety in the choice of compositions, raga and composers, which was at once a connoisseurs delight.

    The lyrics composed by Tyagaraja on Purandara Dasa itself revealed his vast repertoire and knowledge. After 'Gana nathena' and 'Orajupu' the 'Marugelara' was rendered with vintage flavor.

    A satirical deveranama "Ellanu Balle Embuviralla" caught the attention and "Mayamma" in a majestic "vilamba kaala". He capped his concert with a brilliant Pallavi, in a new thala called Shatjathi Thriputa Thala.

    He made intelligent use of the janti and datu swaras. In between, "Mokshamu galada," "Naivedya Kolla Narayana" (Jyothiswarupini) - was also well received. With his resonant voice and lively presentation, Padmanabha's singing swayed the audience. C N Chandrasekhar on violin, C Cheluvaraj on mridanga and Dayanand Mohithe on ghata - gave admirable support.

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  • 03/22/15--14:21: Music and dance reviews
  • Refreshing Kathak
    The Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat had organised a Kathak recital by Kumari Neha Seshadrinath this Friday at the Dr H N Kalakshetra in Jayanagar.

    Neha is the granddaughter of Prof M V Seetharamaiah, a veteran litterateur and a postgraduate in psycho social rehabilitation and counselling. She is a senior student of Nirupama and Rajendra of Abhinava Dance Company and has performed in many places including UK, China, USA and Canada.

    She has also received a scholarship from the government of India and is a graded artiste of Doordarshan.

    Neha is a young and talented dancer. The "Shiva Stuti" in malkauns gave her a pleasant start. Then she moved to "Nritha" in Teen Thal of 16 beats, in different speeds with Amad, Tukda, Thihay etc. She exhibited her firm grasp of the rhythm.

    For 'gath bhav,' she chose the Kannada piece 'Seetha Swayamvara'. She even recited few, as it is customary in Kathak. Her delineation for the Tulasidas Bhajan was evocative.
    Another Abhinaya piece of Ibrahim Adilsha "Ek Naari" in rag Kedar was performed with restrained but effective mukhija abhinaya, the feeling coming alive in the interpretation.
    The durbari Tharana was a fitting finale for the refreshing performance. Neha Seshadri has certainly put in hard work and is Kathak dancer of good promise.

    From the sidewings Nirupama Rajendra directed the inspiring dancer. Chaithanya Shankar Bhat gave melodious vocal and Praveen D Rao gave energetic Thabala, along with Sruthi Kamath on Sithar and Shivalinga Rajapur on flute.


    A pleasing violin trio
    Senior violinist S Yashasvi is the son and disciple of A Subba Rao, a veteran vocalist. He has also been guided by Dr R K Srikantan. He is a solo violinist, accompanist and a popular teacher too.

    Yashasvi gave a violin concert last week under the auspices of the Malleswaram Sangeetha Sabha at Sri Rama Bhajana Sabha. In fact, it was a violin trio, as Yashasvi performed along with his two students - brothers Thejas Manjunath and Pranav Manjunath. The brothers have been learning the art from several years and have won few prizes also. In the current concert, the trio started with a fine Varna followed by "Sri Mahaganapathim ravathumam".

    The "Akhilandeswari" attracted with its dignified "Vilamba Kaala".

    The next raga he chose was Bhavapriya, the 44th mela and is a full fledged scale and the raga became fairly popular through Tyagaraja's composition and later many composers have composed in this raga. The trio elaborated briefly and rendered the Swaras.
    "Garudagamana" was another pleasing composition, before taking the main item of the evening, their choice of raga Brindavani, was welcomed by the connoisseurs, as it is not often chosen for Pallavi.

    Brindavani is an attractive raga and violinists gave a grand, colourful picture of the raga.
    "Tharakka Bindige" was a popular devaranama of yester years. B R Srinivas and
    Sunad Anoor gave good support on Mridanga and Khanjari, respectively.


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  • 03/29/15--06:36: Music and dance reviews
  • Music season is here again

    'Ramothsava,' the music season, has arrived again and it's raining music all over the City. Musicians and music connoisseurs are participating in different Ramanavami pandals, spread all over the City. Among them, the most popular one, 'Sree Rama Seva Mandali,' is celebrating the music festival for the 77th year at the old Fort High School in Chamarajpet.

    Bombay Jayashree Ramanath gave the inaugural concert here on Saturday and the large gathering was proof of her popularity. Jayashree was in fine fettle as she started with the familiar invocatory piece "Vatapi." She presented a few choice compositions selected from the treasure chest of Saint Thyagaraja. She first chose "Teliya Leru Rama Bhakti Margamunu," in which, Tyagaraja says "Men get up at dawn and get busy working out the strategy for making money by hook or by crook. They only roam about in tension all over without being aware of the path of devotion." When Jayashree sang this composition, its steady pace and sonority paved the way for a cozy feeling.

    Another two krithies "Vandanamu" (Shahana) and "Mokshamugalada" - were also well received. She crowned the concert with a beautiful pallavi (Seetha Ramana Raghu Ramam), the ragamalike rising the emotional fervour to a trance. Few devotionals like "Rama Rama Enniro" followed. Another interesting thing was accompaniment of three young artistes, with good anticipation, though mridanga was a bit louder at times. Dileep on violin, Sairam on mridanga and Anirud on khanjari - made their presence felt.

    Delightful vocal

    Some of the Mandalies celebrate Ramothsava from Yugadi itself, which is the old tradition, known as "Garbha Navami". One such organisation, the "Vyalikaval Extension Association," is conducting the 49th Ramotsava celebrations at its own Sree Rama Temple. The association has organised music (vocal, violin solo, mandolin) and dance programmes, which will continue till April 4.

    Bellary M Raghavendra, who gave a vocal recital in the Vyalikaval Association, hails from a musicians' family and is employed at the All India Radio, Mysuru, as a staff artiste. Raghavendra's concert took off on a bright note. After few initial compositions, he sprang a surprise by presenting an infrequent raga.

    Yagapriya is the 31st mela, which was earlier known as Kalahamsa and Kalavati and Kotiswara Iyer's composition in this raga, is quite popular. But Raghavendra chose a composition of Bellari Seshagiri Achar, called "Rama Rama Eni Chinthimparuda" and rendered neatly. Then, he reeled of compositions of Dikshitar, Tyagaraja, Purandara Dasa and Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar, which audience enjoyed throughout.

    After "Ramanatham Bhajeham" with a nerval and brief swara, the well known devaranama "Alli Nodalu Rama" was delectable. Kanthamani and Reetigowla ragas were sung with good feeling and the "Parama Pavana Rama" glowed with good 'Raga bhava'.
    Young B K Raghu (violin) along with veteran T AS Mani (mridanga), gave good support, while Raghavendra Prakash was in charge of ghata.

    Meaningful devotionals

    Sri Rama Bhaktha Sabha, founded by Compounder Subba Rao in 1906, is celebrating Ramothsava with discourses, bhajans, harikatha, dance, yakshagana, apart from music concerts. Dr Vidyabhushana, the sought after musician, is also a recipient of "Sangeetha Vidyanidhi" title from J S S Sangeetha Sabha and attracts a large gathering wherever he sings. In the current concert at the Sabha, he was well supported by three seasoned instrumentalists- M S Govindaswamy on violin and double mridanga by Sri Mushnam Raja Rao and H S Sudhindra.

    Dr Vidyabhushana sang a number of compositions on Lord Rama. "Rama Namamu Janma Rakshaka Mantra" of Saint Thyagaraja, has been a popular kruthi. He chose a number of Devaranamas of different Haridasas, which brought variety. But the Keerthane "Nija dasa Varada" put the concert in a solid mould. The alap itself was well proportioned and the krithi acquired a delightful presence with the brief swara. "Neenu Upekshaya Maadi" of Kanakadasa was rendered with devotion and "Hoova Tharuvara Manege" was meaningful. "Jaya Jaya Hanumantha" of Prasanna Venkatadasa and "Rama Nama Emba Eradakshara" - were also enlivening with meaningful lyrics.

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  • 04/05/15--07:10: Music and dance reviews
  • Ramotsava festival

    One of the oldest Rama mandiras in Bengaluru, the Malleswaram Sri Rama Mandira, established in 1922, conducted the annual Ramotsava festival. Music (vocal, veena, flute, harmonium and saxophone) dance, gamaka and yakshagana programmes were organised on the occasion.

    P Rama and P Chandrika, who gave a vocal duet here, are well known musicians. After few familiar compositions they crowned their concert with a fine composition- "Kanta Judumi Oka Pari Kri". In this keertana, Saint Tyagaraja says - "Cast your benign side glances on me at least once ….. I have become your devoted servant".

    Their alap of Vachaspati revealed all the nuances known to the melody and they rendered swara by turns. It was followed by a number of devaranamas, which audience enjoyed immensely. Hanumana Mathave Hariya Mathavu, Pavanaja Stuthi Patra, Karedare Barabarade - all these popular Kannada padas- pleased the gathering. The whole performance had a very professional feel. T S Krishnamurthy and B R Srinivas supported well on violin and mridanga, respectively.

    'Pep' factor missing

    Sri Seshadripuram Ramaseva Samithi, another well known Ramotsava organisation, organised veena, flute and solo violin recitals, apart from vocals. The festival will conclude on April 14. N Rajakamal, who gave a flute recital here, is an engineering graduate.

    He took initial lessons from S A Shashidhar and advanced training from veteran musician Neela Ramgopal. He has received scholarship from the government of India and prizes from the Karnataka Ganakala Parishat and Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai.

    Rajkamal's flute recital stood out for its steady blowing and modal fidelity. Pantuvarali was elaborated with relish, while Abheri accounted for a pleasant listening and "Sakala grahabala Neene" is a familiar devaranama of Purandara Dasa. Rajkamal played flute with ease and assurance. But he has to add necessary pep to his presentation to make his concert more impactful.

    He was well accompanied by Sindhu Suchethan on violin, V Krishna on mridanga and B N Chandramouli on khanjari.

    A pleasant vocal

    The Bangalore Lalitha Kala Parishat had chosen a vocal concert for its monthly programme on Friday. Anuradha Krishna Murthy, daughter and disciple of Palghat K V Narayanaswamy and Padma Narayanaswamy, has been guided by Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and T Brinda.

    "Evaribodha", the familiar varna by Anuradha Krishna Murthy evoked a musical atmosphere at the H N Kalakshetra.

    She carried the varna in two speeds and stretched it further with swaraprasthara. Then a Kannada pada "Gajavadana Beduve", a salutation to the invocatory God, was followed by another dasara pada "Jaya Janakee Kantha". The Sree raga pancharatna "Endaro Mahanubhavulu" was rendered underlining the structural beauty of the composition. Purvi Kalyani was taken up for a spacious alapana covering important landmarks of the raga.

    The "Sarasijanabha Sodari" - a one time favourite - had a nostalgic fervour. But her well trained vocalism found its expression in the neat alap of Shanmukhapriya. Another devaranama (Rama Rama Seetha Rama Enniro) and a thillana (Jinjoti - Veena Seshanna) - embellished with graceful sangathies accounted for a pleasant listening. C N Chandrasekhar on violin, M R Sainath on mridanga and M R Manjunath on ghata - were adequate in their supporting roles.

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    Delectable vocal recital
    The Seshadripuram Rama Seva Samithi organised another delightful music programme last week. Amritha Venkatesh, disciple of M T Selvanarayana, Charumathi Ramachandran and Rama Varma, is an 'A-grade' artiste of Akashavani. She is not only a vocalist but also a good veena player. She has performed in leading Sabhas and has also won several prizes including from the Music Academy, Chennai.

    In the current concert, Amritha Venkatesh planned her selection judiciously to establish her grasp over the medium, which was very convincing even to seasoned connoisseurs. Kamatch was rendered well. Both raga (Bahudari) and nerval (Rama Nama Mane) for "Banturithi Kolu", was brief, but pleasing. Bhadrachala Rama Das's "Yemmaiah Rama' was also well received by the listeners. Saveri was notable for the remarkable fluidity and melodic content in her voice.

    One of the fine compositions of Saint Tyagaraja "Rama Baana" was heard after a long time. An ugabhoga "Baliya Manege Vaamana Bandanthe" was followed by a familiar devaranama "Rama Krishnaru Manege Bandaru," which was rendered with lilting melody. B K Raghu, B C Manjunath and S N Narayana Murthy gave good support on violin, mridanga and ghata respectively. Looks like he has a promising career ahead.

    Strained voices
    Both the music programmes at the Sree Ramaseva Mandali, Chamarajpet, were vocal concerts. First, the Hyderabad Brothers - Seshachary and Raghavachari - treated audiences with some rare and majestic compositions of Saint Tyagaraja.

    They opened the concert with the familiar varna "Vanajakshee." "Chinnanaada" attracted with lilting melody of the krithi. Their alap for Simhendramadhyama stood out for its clarity, helping them to lend a well reasoned imagery to the raga.

    Then, "Annapurne Vishalakshi", the ever-green composition, followed. Saveri bristled in the familiar mode. But their singing appeared a bit strained. They also sang a few meaningful devaranamas like - Dharma Shravana, Antharangadali Hariya Kaanadava, Rama Rama Enniro. H K Venkataram on violin, D S R Murthy on mridanga and B R Ravi Kumar on ghata accompanied with good understanding.

    Impressive concert
    Pattabhirama Pandith gave an excellent musical concert at the Sree Rama Seva Mandali in Fort High School Grounds. A team of seasoned instrumentalists took on the stage with him. TKV Ramanujacharlu on violin, Patri Satish Kumar on mridanga and BR Ravi Kumar on ghata - enhanced the total effect of the concert by playing their respective instruments.

    Pattabhiram Pandith is fast emerging as a seasoned vocalist which was substantiated as he opened with a crisp varna "Sarasuda." Instead of a invocatory piece on Ganapathi, he chose "Rara Mayinti daga," in which Tyagaraja pleads "Raghuvara! Do come and grace my dwelling by your presence …. How can you forget that I mentally merged myself in you. Are not you my treasure?" Raga, 'Varnamattu' and the lyrics are very much complimentary to each other in this composition. "Dinamani Vamsha", which was very common during yesteryears, was rendered without elaboration.
    Pantuvarali is one of the most commonly heard ragas on the concert stage. Still, it attained a flavour on its own, when Pattabhiram Pandith presented it. His voice grew deeper and stronger while singing "Mamava Pattabhi Rama" in a majestic "vilamba kaala." In contrast, "Nenaruncinanu" was in good "drutha kaala."

    Another memorable composition "Mohana Rama" was enriched by some sparkling swara prasthara. As it often happens, the vocalist chose a Pallavi almost at the fag end of the concert. The pallavi (Janakee Pathe) in Bhairavi was neatly executed negotiating Saveri, Kalyani and Shivaranjini. Though one felt the main raga of the pallavi was too brief, it was presented with a brisk swara. The accompanists extended excellent support to share the honours with the main artiste.

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  • 04/26/15--06:07: Music and dance reviews
  • Royal compositions

    Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wodeyar (1919-1974) was not only a patron of music but also a musician himself. He has composed around 94 compositions with the "Ankitha" of "Sri Vidya." His compositions are still widely sung by musicians.

    Though his compositions are often used in Bharathanatya programmes, it's rare to see a dance performance exclusively devoted to the Maharaja's compositions. One such dance programme was held last week under the aegis of the M E S Kalavedi.

    Susheela Mehta, a well-known Hindustani musician and senior Bharathanatya dancer, presented a few selected compositions of Jayachamaraja Wodeyar in Bharathanatya style. The performance was a welcome change. It was refreshing and laudable too.

    "Sri Jalandharamashrayamyaham" in the raga Gambheera Naata, an Oudava raga, in which Wodeyar describes five aspects of "Sri" (also Panchabhutha) and names Trayambake, Trineshwara, Mahasenarupa etc. The composition with a well-knit chitteswara inspires dancers to dance. The "Sri Ranganatha Pahimam" in the raga Kalyana Vasantha, which is the 'Janya' of Keeravani, is said to be the last krithi of Maharaja.

    In this, Lord Ranganatha has been praised as Kshitijaramanna, Narayana, Venkatesha and episodes such as Gajendra Moksha are also mentioned. Susheela's portrayal was a testament of her hard work and excellent choreography. The dignified stance and restrained Abhinaya lived up to the demands of the weighty compositions. When connoisseurs were expecting some more items, Susheela concluded her dance recital with "Sri Chamundeswareem Bhajeham" in Madhyamavathi.

    Here the composer prays to Devi as Tripura Sundari, Jaganmohini, Mahishasura Mardani etc. It was a good effort and Shusheela performed with aplomb.

    Guru Minal Prabhu (Natuvanga), Vasudha Balakrishna (vocal), S V Balakrishna (mridanga) and Jayaram (flute) - gave good support from the wings.
    Violin quartet

    Sri Tyagaraja Gana Sabha conducts the Shankara Jayanthi in a unique manner each year. A music festival is also organised annually and this year, the festival was dedicated to A Subbaramaiah, former secretary of the organisation. Karnatic vocal, flute, solo violin and nagaswara recitals were held in this years festival.

    Senior violinist H K Narasimha Murthy received the Kalabhushana title, while N Anantha Padmanabha Rao (vocal), K Ramanna and Dr V Krishna (percussion), A Sambashivam (organiser), B TM Cultural Academy (organization) and Ashwath Bhat (Veda) - were honoured in the Sadas.

    H K Narasimha Murthy, senior musician, gave a fine solo violin recital last week. In fact, it was a violin quartet.

    H N Bhaskar, Sindhu Suchethan and Smitha H S played the violin along with their Guru. The familiar Ragamalika varna gave them a bright start. "Siddi Vinayakam Sevyaham" in Mohana Kalyani is a beautiful composition.

    It was followed by two infrequent compositions of Saint Tyagaraja in - Sruthiranjini and Saranga ragas.

    The climax came in the detailed elaboration of the "Chakkani raja margamu," the evergreen composition. They shared the alapana, nerval and swara taking turns and delighted audiences with lively music.

    It was a pleasure to hear them and it looked like the audience enjoyed the concert throughout.

    A double mridanga by father and son duo B K Chandramouli and B C Manjunath - was an added attraction and Narayana Murthy on ghata and B Rajashekhar on morsing - shared the honours.

    Promising vocalist

    Kumari Srimatha, a disciple of senior vocalist M S Sheela, holds an MA and M Phil in English.

    She has performed at various platforms, delivered lectures and is a recipient of various prizes from prestigious institutions, including the Bangalore Gayana Samaja.

    Srimatha proved her talent by presenting evocative ragas and meaningful kruthies in her concert for the Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat on Friday. She crowned her concert with that dignified keerthane "Meenakshee Me." She appeared to find her moorings in the alapana.

    It followed the standard contours of the raga and the swara prasthara was interesting. A chain of devotionals pleased the gathering.

    Govinda Gopala and a fine Sanskrit lyric - "Sthanavinihithamapi Radhika Krishna" was pleasing. A ugabhoga - "Yena odidarenu" - was followed by another meaningful devaranama "Elliruvano Ranga Emba Samshaya Beda." A thillana of Veena Seshanna was the last item. Srimatha has good voice and her training is very good.

    All that is needed now is more stage experience to supplement her talent and training. She has a promising career. B K Raghu on violin, Adamya on mridanga and Bhargava Halambi on Khanjari - responded very well.

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  • 05/03/15--06:40: Tributes to Saragrahi
  • T B Narasimhachar (1915-1988) was a veteran critic who contributed music reviews to Deccan Herald under the pen name Saragrahi. He served as the secretary of the Malleswaram Sangeetha Sabha for a long time and has also received an award from the Karnataka Sangeetha Nritya Academy. His birth centenary was celebrated last week under the aegis of the Malleswaram Sangeetha Sabha.

    On the occasion, senior veena player D Balakrishna of the "Mysore Baani" gave a pleasing veena recital. In fact, he brought a serene atmosphere right from the opening piece, with his melodious "Naada" and bright presentation. The popular song "Nenendu Vedagudara" was also well received.

    The emotional appeal of the raga Reetigowla was revealed through the composition "Jananeeninuvina". Purvi Kalyani took on a majestic gait and grandeur for "Parama Pavana". Both Kaapi and Varali acquired a lilting flavour in Balakrishna's veena. He capped his efforts with the evocative exposition of the majestic raga Kambodhi. It was neat and rich with solid sangathies, which left a lingering impact.

    Seshanna's thillana was a fitting finale for the delightful concert. The veena recital bore the authentic stamp of "Mysore Baani" throughout. Connoisseurs heard Balakrishna's veena with rapt attention and respect. V S Rajagopal and N S Krishnaprasad gave good support on mridanga and ghata respectively.

    Ananya Nrithyollasa

    Three young, talented dancers gave a performance in this month's Ananya Nrithyollasa and incidentally all the three were Bharathanatya recitals.

    Nidhi Seshadri, a first year of B E student, who opened the programme, is a student of P Praveen Kumar of Chitkala School of Dance. She has passed senior examinations and has performed in Bahrain and for the Doordarshan. She has won awards in both dance and music.

    Nidhi Seshadri opened her programme with the customary Pushpanjali (raga Aarabhi). The Reetigowla raga varna was based on 'Krishna Leela', including Krishna Janana, Poothani Samhara and Geethopadesha. Her Nritta at once revealed a study "thattu mattu" and the good training she has received. Nidhi Seshadri stood out with poise in stance and near precision in laya.Shubha K was initiated to dance by Shakunthala Raghavendra and she has been continuing her practice from the last 10 years under the guidance of Anuradha Vikranth of Dristi Art Centre. She has completed her Rangapravesha and has been featured in several dance dramas of her dance school also.

    Shubha paid obeisance to Ganapathi (Chakravaka) and a pada of Purandara Dasa as the main item of her recital. In the devaranama "Jaganmohanane Krishna", she performed few episodes such as Kalinga Mardhana, Mohini Bhasmasura, etc. Though Shubha performed with ease, her laya has to be improved and her expression fell short in its nuances. With higher training and some more stage experience she can reach great heights, as she is sincerely involved in dance.

    The curtain call of the evening was given by Swetha Lakshman, a student of Padmini Rao of Ponniah Lalithakala Academy. A law graduate, Swetha has completed her Rangapravesha and has performed in several organisations, both in and outside the State.

    Out of the three artistes of the evening, Swetha Lakshman, is certainly the senior. A Kautuam gave her a bright start and the celebrated varna "Ye Maguva" of the Tanjore Quartet in Dhanyasi raga, sparkled with some lively Nritha and her facial expressions was proof of her progress and maturity.

    Abrupt ending

    Curtains came down on this year's Ramanavami Music Festival on Monday at the Vani Vidya Kendra in Basaveshwaranagara. Apart from music (both Karnatic and Hindustani), dance performances (Bharathanatya, Kathak), puppet shows, Gamaka and Yakshagana shows were held in the open air theatre. Young and upcoming artistes were also given a platform to showcase their talent.

    Abhishek Raghuram is no doubt a talented artiste and a crowdpuller. A large number of connoisseurs had gathered to listen to him at the Vani Vidya Kendra last week. He presented a number of fine compositions in his own style. For instance, he presented the
    "Palinthuvo Palimpavo" of Saint Tyagaraja in the raga Kanthamani. The composer in this keerthana says - "Lord! Will you protect me or not? Even if I was accused in any way, you should not treat it as wrong. A competent and noble teacher initiated me in the path of salvation through devotion and I completely follow his behests".

    Abhishek's professional approach was discernible in his willingness to entertain his fans. He is tempted by the middle and fast tempo. But one felt the due importance should have been given to "Vilamba Kaala". "Ramachandrudu Raghuveerudu" in that delectable raga Dwijavanti delighted audiences.

    A brief alapana of Sindhubhairavi was also pleasing. When connoisseurs were in anticipation of a pallavi , he chose a mangala. Tt was not one of Abhishek's best concerts. HM Smitha on violin, Arjun Kumar on mridanga and Sundar Kumar on khanjari - were a good team.

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  • 05/10/15--05:45: Music and dance reviews
  • Sangeetha Sandhya

    Sapthak is serving the music field in many ways for the last eight years. Apart from organising Hindustani music concerts in Bengaluru regularly, it has also conducted programmes in far away places like Sirsi, Belagavi, Dharwad, Udupi, Honnavar etc. It presents scholarships and musical instruments to talented music students and felicitates senior artistes every year under the direction of G S Hegde.

    Sapthak presented two Hindustani music concerts in the "Sangeetha Sandhya" series. First a thabala solo by Ojas Adhiya from Mumbai with harmonium lehara by Siddesh Bicholkar. Ojas Adhiya joined Kalyanji-Anandji at a tender age and later became "Ganda Bandhan Shaagird" (disciple) of Mridangrajji. He has performed both in and outside India with stalwarts and has entered Limca books as the youngest thabala player and has received the Paluskar Award, ITC Award etc. Ojas Adhiya opened with teen taal in vilambith laya in which he played pheskar, kayada and few ghaths. In druth laya he presented rala and chakradhar with amazing clarity that too in high speed. No doubt he has a very bright future.

    A class apart

    Bragha Bessell, a senior dancer gave a Bharathanatya recital last week, under the auspices of the Nadam. Bragha has been trained by seniors like Mangudi Durai Raj, P S Kunchitapadam Pillai and Adyar Lakshman. She completed her arangetram when she was just 13 years old and received a special training in Abhinaya from none other than Kalanidhi Narayanan. She is teaching at Kalakshetra from last few years and conducted a workshop in the City during the first week of May.

    After a brief Virutham, Bragha Bessell chose the celebrated varna of Tanjore quartet "Manavi." It was a neat and beautiful portrayal balancing the aspects of Nritta and Abhinaya admirably. The Nritta was not lengthy but stood out for its dignity. The impact was further enhanced in the Abhinaya numbers. The Saveri pada and the Astapadi were enlivening with restrained but impressive Abhinaya. In the Kannada devaranama "Saddu Maadalu Bedavo", it was slightly dramatizing but without overdoing delineated convincingly. Overall, it was a class apart - especially the Abhinaya - was captivating. But the concluding item "Sakhiye Vinuma" was different with a slightly popular appeal.

    No compliment is too high for the musicians - especially the vocalist, who lent excellent support to the dancer. Hariprasad's vocal was inspiring to the dancer and melodious to the connoisseurs. Sri Sudarshini (Natuvanga), Anil Kumar (mridanga) and Kalai Arasan on violin - fulfilled the needs of the occasion.

    Old is gold

    Veteran vocalist Pandith Indudhar Nirody is a 'A-Top' grade artiste of AIR and a visiting Professor of Karnatak University. He is a recipient of "Asthan Vidwan" from the State government and Annual Award of the Karnataka Sangeetha Nritya Akademi.

    Pandith Indudhar Nirody started with Rag Puriya Kalyan and gave a fairly spacious exposition - Madhyalay Ektaal Bandhis - "Ovana Laage Saanj" - subjected it to numerous melodic variations and druth Teen taal "Dhandhan Bhaag" - raising a tier by tier construction of the mode. It was followed by Rag Shankara with its natural contours.
    His vocal once again proved that age (80) has not withered his spirits. Comparitively Khamaj was brief and it was uninhibited singing presented with deep involvement and brought out the old world flavour of the ragas. He was accompanied by Bhimashankar Bidanur on thabala and B Shreerama Bhat on harmonium.

    Ananya music festival

    Ghata Tarang, solo violin and vocal concerts were held in the annual music festival of the Ananya. Sukanya Ramgopal (percussion), Dr C A Sridhar (Musicology), Vighnaraja Sampagodu (vocal), Vrinda Acharya (vocal), B K Raghu (violin) and Bharadwaj Sathavalli (morching) - received the Ananya Annual Awards.
    In the festival there was a vocal recital by Suchitra Holla of Puthur. She is a first rank holder in both proficiency exam and M Mus class and pursuing her PhD currently. 'Rakshamam Sharannagatham' gave Suchitra a good start and followed it with 'Sudhamayee Sudhanidhe' and 'Nee Kaladaya'.

    A grand composition of Dikshitar 'Kumbheswaraya Namasthe" with alapana (Kalyani), nerval (Uthunga Kamaneeya Vrishabharohithaya) and swara - was moulded into an essay of aesthetic finesse. She sprang a surprise by her selection of an interesting Pallavi - Chatusra nade in first half and Khandanade in second half - of Chatusra Jhampe Thala. It was a fine example of her talent and good practice. The concert was a good effort by one who is evolving as a good vocalist. C N Tyagarajan on violin, P Srinivasa Murthy on mridanga and S N Narayana Murthy on ghata - accompanied with good understanding.

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    Harmonium captivates

    Though harmonium is a popular accompanying instrument in Hindustani music concerts, solo recitals of harmonium are not held frequently these days.

    Vittal Rao Koregaunkar, Rambhau Bijapure, Govind Rao Tembe, Vasanth Kanakapur, Seshadri Gavai - are some of the great harmonium players of yesteryears and
    Dr Ravindra Katoti is one of the senior most harmonium players of today who has accompanied great vocalists. He is also an able teacher, who is training a number of young aspirants.

    Dr Ravindra Katoti gave a harmonium solo concert for the Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat on Friday. Rag Marva gave him a bright start.

    Developing in vilambith ek thal and drut teen thal, the raga was embellished with lovely phrases. The Behag was marked for its melodic aplomb. There was crushing sonority and clarity of expression in his playing and classical stature in his music was unmistakable. He also presented three devotionals with a good feeling.

    "Thoredu Jeevisabahude" is a well known composition and he gave the Hindustani interpretation of the Karnatic devaranama "Jagadoddarana," which was a pleasant surprise. His mastery over the instrument, mellow tone and melody throughout the concert made for a delightful listening.

    Udayraj Karpoor on tabala readily responded to enhance the enjoyment and Madhusudhan Bhat accompanied on the harmonium.

    Yuva Puraskar winners

    Both the recipients of the "Yuva Puraskara" gave brief concerts at the Ananya Awards presentation function. Both of them are young vocalists, talented and promising artistes. B K Raghu, B S Prashanth and Bharadwaj Sathavalli accompanied both the parties on violin, mridanga and morching, respectively.

    All the three compositions chosen by Vighnaraja S Sampagodu were his own compositions. Opening with a varna in Mohana raga (Kamala Lochani), he gave a brief alapana of the raga Manoranjani. It is a Audava Sampurna raga and "Janya" of Maanavati, the 5th mela. Tyajaraja and Dikshitar, both have composed keertanas in Manoranjani raga. Swara was also added to the composition "Aadi Shakthi Swarupini" and concluded with a thillana in Hamsanandi. Vrinda Acharya commenced her concert with "Ambaparadevathe" of Krishnaswamy Ayya in the raga Rudrapriya. A brief alapana of Chandrajyothi was neatly rendered. It is a "Krama Shadava" raga and Tyagaraja's composition "Baagayanayya" which is popular in this raga, was sung with swara.

    Melody deficiency

    The Haridasa Sampada Trust conducted the annual Haridasa Habba with music (Karnatic, Hindustani), dance, bhajane and discourses.

    Dr Anupama (Gudi) Mangalavedi, who gave a vocal recital here, is the daughter of Madhava Gudi, senior vocalist of yesteryears. In the "Dasavani," she reeled off a number of devaranamas like - "Nambide Ninna Paadava," "Neene Anatha Bandhu," "Dadava Seriso," "Chinna Kadagola Tharenna," "Ollano Hari Thanollano," "Bidano Ninna" - etc, etc.

    Her voice reaches "Thaara Sthayee" easily. But there is no justification in going to Thara Sthayee soon after commencing a composition, and ignoring the "Mandra Sthayee!"
    She failed to enthuse the audience who had come with expectations and anticipation.

    Singing with a good feeling and adding musical value to her rendering may help her to hold the audience. Shravan Pothdar on harmonium, Rajgopal Kallurkar and Rupak Kallurkar on thabala and Venkatesh Purohit on thaala - accompanied her.

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  • 05/24/15--04:36: Promising veena player
  • Promising veena player

    The Mysore Baani is one of the most prominent styles of veena. Even today, there are many excellent veena players in Karnataka and there are new additions to the list, every year.

    Dr Geetha R Bhat, who gave a veena recital for the "Every Friday Cultural Evening Programme" is not a stranger to the music lovers of the City. She was initiated into music by G Gnanambal and received advanced training from R K Srinivasa Murthy and E P Alamelu. She has also passed the proficiency examination and has performed in few Sabhas and Sammellans. Interestingly, she has to her credit a doctorate in neuro - musicology and the therapeutic powers of classical music from the London University. She also runs the "Swayambhu" which caters to differently abled children.

    Dr Geetha R Bhat, in the current concert, presented compositions of Mysuru composers, in a pleasing manner. It was a fine start with the Varna in Kadanakuthuhala. She presented compositions of Dr L Muthaiah Bhagavatar, Veena Seshanna, Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wodeyar, Mysore Vasudevachar and Veena Venkatagiriyappa, which was lively throughout. After the "Prannamamyaham" in Gowla, she "Chose Amba vani" in that evocative raga Keeravani. Short raga for almost all Krithis was a welcome approach.

    "Sri Jalandhara" was followed by "Ramaninnu" (Ananda Bhairavi). Then the Kambodhi Swarajathi in Adithala, was a pleasant surprise. "Raja Raja" in Niroshtaka raga is a familiar kruthi. Dharamavati raga and the Kruthi "Surapalasannutha" were good in form and content. The "Tani" was followed by a Devaranama (Venkatachalanilayam), a Thillana (Kaapi) and the historical "Kayosri Gowri". With powerful "Meetu" her playing was steady, without being exciting. With some more higher training and listening to veterans, she will be able to bring more depth and make it better impactful. Three percussionists - B S Prashanth, Raghu Nandan and Prasanna Kumar accompanied her.

    Kavya rasa

    The Nrityantara presented a special programme called "Kavya Rasa" last week, based on Jayadeva's Geeta Govinda. Geetha Govinda, a master piece of 12th century Sanskrit literature narrates the love of Radha and Krishna; their longing, joy, anxiety, separation, culminating in their blissful union.

    Prominent dancers of Bengaluru beautifully performed Geeta Govinda in different styles. Astapadi "Lalita Lavanga" was presented in Bharathanatya by Anuradha Vikranth, "Chandana Charchita" in Katak by Manasa Joshi, "Sanchara Dadhara" in Kuchipudi by Shama Krishna, "Sakhi He" in odissi by Meghana Das, the popular "Yahi Madhava" by Prateeksha Kashi in Kuchipudi style, "Harirabhisarati" in odissi by Madhulita Mohapatra, "Priye charusheele" in Bharathanatya by Sathyanarayana Raju and "Kuru Yadunandana" again in odissi by Sharmila Mukherjee.

    Geeta Govinda is inspiring artistic creativity in classical dancers from centuries and it has remained as a pet theme in all the dance styles of India. All the 8 dancers delighted the jam packed connoisseurs with their impactful abhinaya. Kudos to Madhulita Mohapatra and Nrityantar for organising a memorable programme.

    Good in parts

    Vani S Hemmige, a young musician, gave a vocal recital last week under the auspices of the M E S Kalavedi. She is a disciple of P Rama and is being guided by R Surya Prakash.It was a mixed fare, as Vani was not confident in the beginning of her current concert. But by the time she chose "Vijayambike," she settled down and started singing with assurance. "Ananda Natana" is popular in dance recitals also. She chose Keeravani, the evocative raga as the main item of the evening. No doubt it is a popular 'rakti raga'. But her recital lacked the usual flourish. Her alap did not offer much aesthetic fervour. But the Kriti "Kaligeyunte" was not short of its lyrical endearments. Alapana and Swara Prasthara betrayed her inadequacy in that major department.

    She has potential and will have a promising career ahead. Kanchana S Shruthiranjani on violin, Anoor Vinod Shyam on mridanga and Sunaad Anoor on Khanjari - supported on their respective instruments.

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  • 05/31/15--06:08: Successful Kalavanta
  • Successful Kalavanta

    Young and upcoming artistes established their credentials individually and collectively in the Kalavanta festival, last week.

    Ten organisations of the city have come forward to form the "Karnataka Fine Arts Council" to conduct talent promotional programmes, every year. In the second edition held last week, 45 artistes from many parts of the country - few from abroad also - vied each other to prove their mettle. Who said classical music is dying? These young artistes gave enough proof to show that carnatic music's future is safe in their hands. Naturally the festival aroused as much curiosity as a keen sense of anticipation, among connoisseurs.

    Anirudh Venkatesh, who gave a vocal recital on Tuesday, is from USA and was initiated to music by Padmakutty. He is receiving guidance now from P S Narayanna Swamy. A rich voice attended by powerful resonance helped Anirudh to display his prowess in a varied repertory. In the first half of the concert itself "Sugunnamule" was appealing. Tyagaraja's another composition "Lokavana Taruna Pahimam" was rendered highlighting his musical sensitivity. "Bhogindra Shayinam" is a all-time favourite. "Ninne Nammi Naanu Sada" - was the main item of the evening, aesthetic twists and flowing 'gamakas' exfoliating the evocative image of the raga. Shreya Devnath and Akshay Anand gave good support on violin and mridanga, respectively.

    Tejas Mallela, who gave a violin solo recital, took initial lessons from Komanduri Venkatesh and advanced traning from A Kanya Kumari and is also practising vocal music. In the current concert Adamya Ramanand and Sunad Anoor accompanied on Mridanga and Khanjari, respectively. After the Varnna, Tejas saluted to invocatory God through the composition "Siddi Vinayakam".

    After the master piece - Swarajati of Shyama Sastry - he chose another well-known composition of Saint Tyagaraja "Durmargacaradhamulanu". But Ranjani was bereft of the raga's customary dignity. However, Kaapi regained with plentitude of charm for the Kruthi "Inta Soukhyamani". Some more higher training and listening to senior's music may help him to bring better impact.

    Another vocalist from Tamil Nadu Ananya Ashok, was supported by Sandeep Ramachandran on violin and Deepika Srinivasan on mridanga. Ananya is a student of Anuradhasridhar and T N Seshagopalan. "Sri Mahaganapathim" is a fine composition to begin with. She paid tributes to all the Trimurthies by selecting one Kruthi of each. "Sugunnamule Ceppu Konti" of Tyagaraja, with brief alapana and nerval (Sri Nayaka Kshamiyincu) was pleasing. "Devi Brova Samayamide" of Shyama Sastri is a diginified Kruthi. Shankarabharanna was notable for her adherence to tradition and gave glimpses of her talent, though concert in total was less impressive.

    Promising vocalist

    Narayanna Sharma is being groomed by Lalgudi G J R Krishnan now. He has received lessons from S Yashasvi. He made an impressive begining of his solo violin recital, with the well-known varna of Lalgudi Jayaraman in the raga Charukeshi. He chose a composition of Koteeswara Iyer, instead of the usual invocatory pieces.

    He presented simhendramadhyama. In between two popular kruthies - "Manasa Etulo" and "Bantureethi" - were neatly delineated. Todi, the dignified raga testified to his dedicatio.

    His adherence to tradition is notable and all he needs is some more concert experience. Chetan Murthy and Chidananda - accompanied on mridanga and morching. Vocalists Vignesh Easwar and Vani Rama Murthy along with Dileep K J (violin), Anoor Vinod Shyam (mridanga) and Sunad Anoor (khanjari) - received prizes.

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  • 06/07/15--06:44: Reviews: Music and Dance
  • Tributesto quartet

    Contributions of Thanjavur quartet to the dance field - especially to the Bharathanatya - is immense and highly regarded. Realising their contributions and as a tribute young dancer Shwetha Lakshman performed "Thanjavur Margam" at the Padmini Rao Parampara Centre, under the auspices of the Ponnaiah Lalithakala Academy.

    In the beginning itself Swetha paid her respects to Dikshitar, through the Gurusthuthi in Purvi Kalyani. After a shabdam in Kambodhi she got warmed up for the main item. Jathis in the elaborated swarajathi in the raga Huseni was executed effortlessly.

    The Javali (Pharj) also performed with aplomb. It was followed by a kruthi in Mayamalavagowla and a thillana in Shankarabharana. Though it was proof of Swetha Lakshman's progress over the years, she has to graduate to elevate the status of her performance. As she enjoys dancing and deeply interested, it will not be difficult to undergo higher training to reach greater heights.

    Swetha also received good support from the wings: Natuvanga and vocal by S Shreyas, mridanga by S V Giridhar, flute by V Vivek, violin by Pradesh Achar, ghata by Betta Venkatesh and compering by Suggenahalli Shadakshari - fulfilled the needs of the occasion.

    A pleasant recital

    Shreya Devanath, who gave a solo violin concert for the Sapthaswara Academy last week belongs to the reputed Lalgudi School. She has already received prize and awards including from the Narada Gana Sabha, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha. She has passed all the examinations with distinction - 12th std and B A with highest honours and M A (Economics) with a prize for distinction. She has received prizes for her creative writings also.

    Though Shreya Devnath played a number of compositions, she mainly elaborated two popular ragas. Touching the pivotal swaras with powerful phrases raga Shanmukhapriya was pleasing, she gradually developed the Mohana raga, phrase by phrase and made it colourful and wholesome.

    The way she started the swaraprasthara in vilamba kaala and gradually moved to Drutha kaala was admirable. Her "patanthara" is good and presentation lively. In between she also presented few compositions like "Ksheera sagara", neatly. Shreya concluded her concert with a devaranama (Jagadoddarana) and a thillana (Kaanada). No doubt she has a brighter future in the years to come. B.C. Manjunath and Bhargava Halambi gave good support on mridanga and khanjari respectively.

    Colourful Odissi

    The Nrityantar trains youngsters in Odissi dance under the able guidance of Madhulita Mohapatra. It also organizes lecture demonstrations and dance festivals round the year.
    The Nrityantar ensemble gave a dance recital last week at the Malleswaram Rama Mandira. It was part of the 3 days cultural festival held in connection with the anniversary. The ensemble had chosen the epic tale Ramayana for their dance drama, which suited the occasion very well. Popular episodes like Seetha Swayamvara, Manthare's Advise, Rama's Vanavasa, Panchavati Vaasa, Surpanakha, Maricha, Lakshmana drawing "Lakshmana Rekha", Seethapaharana, Jatayu Vadha and finally Ravana Vadha. The dancers changing the roles in quick succession, performed with gay abandon. Though recording was quiet old, the music was melodious.

    It was followed by another dance ensemble under the direction of Sateesh Babu of Natyeshwara Mandira. Young dancers chose "Marriage" as the theme of their dance. They performed like puppets - every step or movement was like puppets. Only attraction was very colourful costumes. It is less said the better on their performances.

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  • 06/14/15--05:53: Music reviews
  • HN memorial festival

    Padmabhushan Dr H Narasimhaiah (HN) was a highly respected educationist and a social reformer with scientific aptitude.

    Though he was the vice-chancellor of the Bangalore University, HN's distinguished services to National College is memorable. To commemorate his birthday (June 6), the Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat conducts, "Dr H Narasimhaiah Memorial Cultural Festival," every year in collaboration with the Ramasudha Charitable Trust.

    In this year's festival held last week, music (Karnatic classical, fusion and sugam sangeeth), dance (Bharathanatya) and drama were held at the HN Kalakshetra, Jayanagar.

    Talented musician, Gayathri Venkataraghavan, who gave a vocal recital in the festival, is a student of Choodamani and is presently being guided by veteran P S Narayanaswamy.
    She has won several prizes from different organisations like the Music Academy, the Narada Gana Sabha, CNANA and AIR. She has sung in leading sabhas of the country and abroad, including USA, Canada, and Australia. It is heartening to note that Gayathri is reaching great heights of Karnatic music very quickly.

    In the current concert, Gayathri Venkataraghavan's rendition of the "Gajamukha Namisuve" of Vadirajaru, set the pace for a tuneful fare. The known kruthi "Jalandhara" was pleasing and after the spacious alapana of Kalyani, when listeners were anticipating a popular composition of Tyagaraja, Gayathri sprang a pleasant surprise by choosing a fine devaranama of Purandara Dasa "Kallu Sakkare Kolliro."

    The "Akhilandeswari" and "Makelara Vicharamu" glowed with some interesting swara phrases. The majestic composition "Ramakatha Sudha" was greatly impressive.
    She wove the beautiful keerthana with a spacious alapana, nerval and swara to bring a classic imagery of the raga.

    The final composition - a devaranama - "Neenyako Ranga Ninna Hangyako" was a nindastuthi. Nalina Mohan on violin, H S Sudheendra on mridanga and A S N Swamy on khanjari - shared the honours with the main artiste.

    Hawaiian Guitar concert
    Dr Prakash Sontakki is a multifarious talented artiste of Bangalore. He is the son of Dr R B Sontakki and Dr Mani Sontakki and has travelled many parts of the world playing Hawaiian Guitar and is a co-composer in the Grammy award album.

    Dr Prakash Sontakki presented a number of ragas and compositions on his Hawaiian Guitar. In the beginning, he chose a piece based on Kalyani raga, moved from classical to fusion music, gradually.

    It was followed by the Misra Kaapi, Charukeshi, Misra Shivaranjini, Maand, etc. It was tuneful, but could not scale the emotional heights as the Ragas were too brief to savour and enjoy. But everyone knows that Sontakki is talented and is capable of! A piece of 9 mathras and popular devotionals like - Sada Enna Hridayadalli, Ondu Baari Smaranne Saalade, Krishna Nee Begane Baaro - were welcomed by the listeners.

    But it was melodious throughout and he also played a few pieces exploring the various possibilities of the instrument Hawaiian Guitar. Udayraj Karpoor, Nagabhushana Udupa and Nagendra Prasad - accompanied on the tabala, keyboard and khanjari, respectively.

    Graceful movements

    P Praveen Kumar, one of the young talented dancers of Karnataka, presented a Bharathanatya recital on Tuesday, along with his six students. Praveen had an intensified training under late Narmada and is now receiving guidance from C V Chandrasekhar, a veteran dancer.

    A recipient of Ustad Bismillah Khan award from the Sangeeth Natak Akademi, Praveen is also the director of Chithkala School of Dance.

    "Devi" is a favourite theme for all the dancers, in all the forms. Praveen had also chosen "Mahamaya," development, progress of Devi in her different ages. As Praveen opened his programme with the well-known lyrics "Chinanjiru Kiliye Kannamma" to portray a child "Devi", a lively presence emerged, enhancing his dancerly potential.

    It was followed by another majestic keerthana "Kanjadalayathakshi" to present a young "Devi." The familiar "Maathe Malaya Dwaja" stood out for their good training. All the six young students - Hemlatha, Divya Hosakere, Raksha Manohar, Nidhi Seshadri, Navyashree and Shreema Upadhyaya - performed with ease and graceful movements and appealingly.

    Of course, Praveen Kumar was the main attraction and his abhinaya revealed a depth and maturity of a senior dancer, naturally. They concluded their good performance with a thillana.

    The dancers were well supported by Srivatsa (vocal), D V Prasanna Kumar (natuvanga), Lingaraju (mridanga) and Mahesh Swamy (flute).

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  • 06/21/15--07:19: Pleasing vocal duets
  • Pleasing vocal duet

    Bangalore Brothers presented a vocal duet concert on Friday at Shankar Mutt in Shankarapura. It was a part of the cultural programmes held in connection with "Vijaya Yathre" of H H Sri Bharathi Teertha Swamiji and H H Sri Vidhushekhara Bharathi Swamiji of Shringeri Shankaracharya, Sharada Peetha.

    M B Hariharan and S Ashok, who are known as Bangalore Brothers, have passed proficiency (vidwath) examination with distinction and recipients of scholarships. They have also edited a few music books like "Ugabhoga Darpana" and "Mundiges of Haridasaru." They are continuing their training with P Sundareshan and H S Sudhindra and they have performed in leading Sabhas of the State and recipients of several prizes also.

    Bangalore Brothers opened their current concert with "Jaya Jaya Swamin" in the raga Naata and added swara briefly for the "Parvathee Pathim" in Hamsadwani. It was followed by "Mahadeva Shiva Shambho" of Tanjore Shankara Iyer and "Shankaracharyam Bhaktha" of Subbarama Deekshithar in the raga Shankarabharana. Both have good and resonant voices that blend admirably. Then a popular devaranama of Purandara Dasa "Kodubega Divyamathi Saraswathi." The raga alapana of Vasantha was brief but pleasing. The choice of raga Devagandhari itself is appreciable and a infrequent kruthi "Thulasamma Mayinta" was a welcome change.

    A piece from Chamundamba Astothara "Aparajithe Amarendranuthe" in raga Kannada. Audience also enjoyed a small Notu swara of Dikshitar "Jagadeesha Guruguha." The duo capped their efforts with an evocative exposition of the Shanmukhapriya raga and the rendition of "Parvathi Nayakane Sharanum" with nerval and swara, was delightful.

    Good training and acquiring an authentic identity is a necessary condition for the success of a vocal duet. It is also true, there have been only a few successful vocal duos in Karnatic music history. Therefore, it was a refreshing experience to listen to the vocal duet by the Bangalore Brothers. Both of them come with different musical background, but moulded into a single unity by senior mridangist H S Sudhindra.

    No doubt they are yet to reach the level of the legendary duos, but they have the required potential to make progress. Satya Kumar on violin, Anirudh Bhat on mridanga and Raghunandan on ghata - accompanied the vocalists.

    Vintage recital elevates

    Dr Vyjayanthimala Bali is an internationally acclaimed veteran dancer and everyone remembers her as a very popular cine actor also. But she impressed as a musician - a vocalist, on Saturday as part of the Ammanni Iyengar Memorial Endowment, held under the auspices of MES Kalavedi.

    Dr Vyjayanthimala opened her concert with a dignified kruthi "Sri Parthasarathe" of Dikshitar in the raga Suddadhanyasi. In this keertana the chitte swaras has a beauty of its own that highlight the raga flavour. "Sujana Jeevana" was a popular and common composition during yesteryears.

    Then she chose a varna "Suma Sayaka" as the fifth item. She sprang a surprise at that juncture. A lyric of well-known Kannada poet Dr P T Narasimhachar "Ako Shama Avale.…" Apart from these, she also chose compositions of great composers like Tyagaraja, Dikshitar, Shyama Sastry, Gopalakrishna Bharathi, Narayana Teertha and Tanjore Shankara Iyer that too in four different languages - Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and Kannada. She rightly called the programme as "Naadanubhavam" but not a kutcheri! There was a vintage touch in every composition. Of course she did not attempt for a detailed alapana or swara prasthara. Though age (80) has affected her voice a bit, the intuitive feeling for ragabhava that compensated for the lack of modernist flourishes was equally noteworthy in her singing.

    The Govindamiha Gopika, Kanakashyla Viharini - both are favourites of connoisseurs always. In the final stage, Divya Prabhanda in ragamalike, a bhajan, thillana and mangala. It brought out her musical flowering under stalwarts like D K Pattammal and she sang with adeep feeling, enjoying herself. It was more like an "offering" to God than a mere concert.

    She was well supported by Girija Shankar as co-singer and accompanied by Sruthi Sagar on the flute and Srivanchiyam Sree Ram on the mridanga.

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  • 06/28/15--06:49: Nrityantara festival
  • Nrityantara festival

    The Shivapriya School conducted Nrityantara, an annual dance festival, last week with Bharathanatya, Kuchipudi, Yakshagana, Odissi and Contemporary dance.

    Last Sunday the festival opened with a Yakshagana performance. Sahana Bhat, student of Shankar Balekudru presented Krishna Sandhana in the Badaguthittu style. With only two characters (Krishna and Duryodhana) it was too brief, but the melodious music, interesting dialogue and colourful costumes caught the attention of connoisseurs.

    Senior dancer Sharmeela Mukherjee presented an Odissi dance, along with her 7 students who are part of the Sanjali dance ensemble. Pallavi was proof of their good training and practice. In the Abhinay they presented a few episodes like Gajendra Moksha, Dyutha, Draupadi Vastrapaharana and Narasimha Avathar. Naturally Sharmila Mukherjee was the main attraction and her students also performed well.

    Gururaj, who gave a Kuchipudi recital, is a disciple of Vyjayanthi Kashi, a well known dancer. He opened with Naandi followed with the "Neela Megha." In the Tharanga he danced on the bronze plate customarily - which was very brief - and concluded with a Shivasthuthi. With some more training and stage experience he will be able to reach great heights.

    Curtains came down on this year's Nrityantara with a Bharathanatya recital by the Bharathanjali dance ensemble from Nrityakala Mandira.

    They opened their recital not with a usual invocatory piece, but with a devotional composition. In this keertana "Vidulaku Mrokkeda" Saint Tyagaraja salutes the enlightened souls of music and "Saptaswara" (seven notes) and "Naada." The dancers' movements were clear and precise with neat foot work. They went on to the piece de resistance of the recital - a Subramanya Stuthi of L R Lakshmi, in ragamalika. Changing their roles in quick succession, they performed with ease and assurance.

    After a Shivastuthi of Tanjore Shankara Iyer, they concluded with a "Sarvadeva Namaskara." It was beautifully choreographed by B Banumathi and impressively performed by the young dancers.

    Dance fest

    "Ananya Samarpana," a three-day cross border festival of classical dance was held last week under the aegis of the Ananya GML Cultural Academy of Bengaluru and Samarpana - the Asian Festival of Classical Dance in Singapore.

    Divya Ramesh, who gave the inaugural recital, is a student of Gayathri Sriram of Shrutilaya, Singapore, and has performed her Arangetram in 2013. She has also performed in places like California and Chennai, apart from Singapore. She is also being guided by Minal Prabhu, senior dance teacher from Bengaluru.

    The invocatory Pushpanjali in Abhogi showed Divya Ramesh in fine fettle. She chose a varna of Dr Shankar in ragamalika, which was the story of "Agni." In the "Sanchari," she narrated Agni (fire) as an ornament of Shiva and he used Agni to kill Tripurasura, Manmatha's arrow, etc. Divya's laya is faultless and she executed the jathies with ease and she will be able to bring depth with some more stage experience and higher lessons.

    The Pada in Mohana (G Gurumurthy) was on Swaha, wife of Agni and concluded with a thillana in Shankarabharana. Divya Ramesh is sure to make a mark as she matures in age and no doubt has a bright future. Guru Minal Prabhu and Gayatri Sriram on natuvanga, Balasubramanya Sharma on vocal, G Gurumurthy on mridanga, Pradeshachar on violin and Prasanna Kumar on the rhythm pad - gave inspiring support from the wings.

    Lacks flavour

    The second performance was Mohiniyatta by Lakshmi Viswanathan. She has learnt bharathanatya and mohiniyattams from a very young age. After a brief stint at Houston (Texas), she continued her training under Rathna Kumar and is part of the Dharani School of Performing Arts ensemble. She has already performed in places like Hungary, Germany and Chidambaram. Lakshmi commenced her programme with a Ganesha Stuthi, remover of obstacles, which was in the Samanthamalari.

    The main item of her programme was a varna in Dwijavanthi raga, which describes Nayika's love for Lord Krishna. She also presented a pada (Varika Varika Sakhi) and a thillana in Bageshree. It seemed as if Lakshmi Viswanathan is still evolving and short of an authentic flavour.

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  • 07/12/15--07:26: Concert for a cause
  • Prathyarpana Foundation, under the banner of Vijaya College of Music, was inaugurated by Vidwan T M Krishna, last week. Initiated by Saralaya sisters (Triveni and Kavitha) the Foundation aims at "giving back to society through arts" and beneficiary of inaugural "concerts for a cause" was 'Tara' - Home for the aged.

    As invocation, students of Vijaya College of Music sang in unison "Endaro Mahanubhavulu," the evergreen composition of Saint Tyagaraja. Senior violinist H K Venkatram gave a solo violin recital, accompanied by Arunprakash on the mridangam and Ullur Giridhar Udupa on the ghata.

    Popular kruthi "Vatapi" was the most auspicious curtain raiser. The swara was also impressive. After "Ra Ra Mayinti," he chose Anandabhairavi with well-knit sangathies, which lent a convincing imagery of the melody.

    The artiste concluded with a pleasing devotional "Venkatachala Nilayam" and the Behag thillana of Veena Seshanna.

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  • 07/19/15--06:47: Chinna Kala Nadam
  • Chinna Kala Nadam

    Nadam (Narthan Academy of Dance and Music) is a dance institution training young aspirants from the past 18 years under the direction of Nandini K Mehta and K Murali Mohan. They also conduct two festivals (Kala Nadam and Chinna Kala Nadam) every year. In this year's Chinna Kala Nadam, 150 children from 23 dance schools participated in the dance and music concerts.

    The festival was opened on Saturday with a fine vocal recital of Master Datha Prasad Avadhooth. He sang 'Sri Saraswati' with his striking voice. Mandolin attracts many youngsters these days and one of them, M R Rakshith, presented a varna (Shankarabharana) and a composition (Samajavaragamana) and was supported by Karthik Pranav and Sai Vamshi on percussion. All of them are students of Anoor Anathakrishna Sharma.

    Students of Spoorthy School of Dance chose a Kauthvam and a pada (Shankaragiri) for their Bharathanatya recital. Though they are all very young, they are not inferior to others! For instance, students of Sri Rajarajeshwari Kala Niketan performed the devaranama in the form of a Kuchipudi Taranga by balancing on a brass plate and a water pot on the head! It was a welcome change, when 13 pupils of Sanjali Dance Centre performed different rhythmic patterns in the Odissi style.

    But it was Chiranjeevi Manu (Venkatesha Natya Mandira) who stole the show. His stance in the 'Mahadeva Shivashambho' was attractive, accounting for instant popular appeal. A dozen students of Abhinava Dance Centre chose Saraswathi Vandana, Sargam, showcasing fast footwork patterns and twirls. Using basic exercise, animal movements, advanced body exercises and weaponry, young members of Kalari Academy gave a show which was exciting. These children performed with ease and assurance to exhibit their talent and no doubt they have bright futures. Kudos to Nadam for providing a platform to these young children.

    Attractive ensemble

    'Taala Vadhya,' the percussion ensemble, was the choice of ICCR for this month's 'Horizon Series' held under the joint auspices of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Senior percussionist B K Chandramouli directed and led the ensemble successfully. A flute (L V Mukund) and violin (S Yashasvi) duo presented few compositions with swara prasthara and was accompanied by 'Dasha Taala Vadya' by turns and joining together in the end. 'Intha chalamu,' the grand varna, took off on a vibrant note and was followed by 'Maha Ganapathim.' The 'Raga swara laya' which was specially composed for the evening was a 'Thri Raga composition' - Hamsadwani, Abhogi and Kalyani, improvised in Khanda, Thisra and of course, Chatusra. The Kaapi raga was elaborated melodiously by the flautist and violinist. Tyagaraja's well known keerthana 'Intha Soukhya' was rendered with good swara prasthara. Percussionists rose to great heights in their supporting roles and reverberated with different permutations and combinations and was a pleasant experience.

    Talented dancers

    Adyasha conducted a special dance programme by young dancers of different dance schools of Bangalore.

    Four dances in different forms - Kathak, Odissi and Kuchipudi, apart from Bharathanatya - included an item on the Rain, which suited the occasion.

    Young students Bhavana Sripada and Chandana Rao opened their Kathak recital with a composition on Shiva and continued with a majestic Madhurashtaka. It was a proof of their good training under Tushar Bhatt and Puja Bhatt.

    Students of Adyasha chose - Namami, Megh Pallavi and Moksh and performed beautifully.
    Disciples of Chitkala performed a Thandava mangala, a keerthana of Deekshithar (Kanjadalayathakshee) and as a welcome change, a Kannada lyric of Dr Siddaiah Puranik, and rendered it with good confidence.

    Students of Shivapriya gave a Kuchipudi recital. A composition on Ganesha (Hamsadwani), a devaranama in the form of a Tharanga - were performed with brisk movements and popular appeal.

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  • 07/26/15--08:29: Eka Raga Taala Vaibhava
  • Eka Raga Taala Vaibhava

    The Karnataka College of Percussion conducts music programmes round the year to celebrate its Golden Jubilee. As part of the celebrations, a four-day Eka Raga Taala Vaibhava festival was organised. The festival witnessed vocal, flute and percussion ensembles.

    Varijashree, who gave a vocal recital, hails from a musicians family. After initial lessons from her parents (H S Venugopal and Rama Venugopal), she underwent training under H Geetha and Vasantha Srinivasan and has been guided by Salem Sundareshan and D S Srivathsa. She is equally good in Sugam Sangeeth and a popular playbacksinger and has been awarded for her song in the film Rose.

    Varijashree had chosen the pleasing rag Behag for her current concert. Influenced deeply by Hindustani music, Behag was very popular in Mysore Samsthana both in classical and theatre music, during the beginning of the 20th century. Right from the beginning, she chose compositions of different composers in Behag but crowned her concert with a pallavi, which suited a "Sabha Kacheri". Her detailed alapana gave a good picture of the raga and a brisk thana further enhanced the impact. The pallavi (Neela Megha Shyama Krishnam Bhaje) testified to her talent. Earlier, she also sang a varna of Prof T R Subramanyam, a keerthana and a composition of Swati Tirunal in Behag. R Achutha Rao and Jagathi Priya gave good support on violin, mridanga respectively.

    Shantala Nritya Utsav

    The Shantala Arts Academy, Yeshwantpur, is a reputed dance school that has been training young aspirants in dance for the last 30 years. The academy also conducts the "Shanthala Nritya Vaibhava" festival every month and presents awards for senior artistes. To commemorate the 30th anniversary, the Trust conducted a three-day dance festival with artistes from far and wide.

    There were three dance programmes on Saturday at the Trimshat Mahotsava. Neeraja Setlur is a young dance student from USA, who is being trained by Indrani Parthasarathy of Abhinaya Nritya Shale. She opened her recital with a composition on Ganapathi (Gambheera Ganna Nayakam). Krishna's story as narrated by Krishna himself was the theme of the devaranama of Purandara Dasa. Tyagaraja's "Sogasuga Mridanga Thaalamu", a popular keerthane, was performed by Neeraja with ease and confidence. But with some more training and experience she will be able to perform the Navarasa with great promise.

    Nayaka Bhava

    A N Sudhir Kumar, a postgraduate and PhD holder from Bangalore University, presented different Nayaka Bhavas through various compositions - from stage music, Kannada lyrics and even from films in his special programme called "Purushabhivyakthi". The opening song "Yethakenna" was from a drama portraying Virahoth Khanditha Nayaka. When the beautiful Parvathi appeared like Kaali, Ravana was astonished, which was well performed by Sudhir Kumar. Lyrics from M N Vyasa Rao, B R Lakshman Rao and "Vaidehi Yenadalu" from a film, was also demonstrated by him evocatively. Another surprise was vocal music by Maheshswamy, who is known as a flautist, all these years.

    Yuva Sangeetotsava

    As many as 15 young musicians took part in this year's Yuva Sangeetotsava held under the aegis of the Bangalore Gayana Samaja. J K Yoga Kirtana (in pic), who gave a vocal recital, took her initial training from P Rama and is receiving advanced training from veteran musician Neela Ramgopal. An MBA graduate, Kirtana has won several prizes from prestigious sabhas including AIR, Music Academy and Gayana Samaja.In her concert for the Gayana Samaja, Kirtana presented a few good compositions such as Sreepathe (Nagaswaravali) and Karunajudavamma, which stood out for its graceful sangathies. "Bhogindra Shayinam" is liked by both performers and connoisseurs. She chose "Mari Mari Vachuva", a dignified composition, for a detailed airing. It was pleasant and she showed great promise. She was well supported by Apurva Krishna on violin and Avinash Krishna on mridanga.

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