Anurag – All in the Name of Love
Samskriti School of Indian Classical Dance brought Anurag, a production of two love stories comprising the well known tales of Shakuntala and Meera. Both with main female roles. Shakuntala and Dhushyanthan is a love story of a King falling in love with a beautiful girl of a hermit in the wild and then forgetting her existence due to a curse. Samskriti School of Indian Classical Dance under the tutelage and leadership of Hamsa Venkat has blossomed bringing its senior talented dancers Divya Sriram as Shakuntala; Govind Pillai as Dhushyanthan and Krishna and other roles; Lakshmi Rajagopalan as Meera and in other roles; Sheila Arun, Shilpa Nagaraj and Prarthna Bhuta in various roles as Sakhis, Radha and many other children. The first section of the programme was choreographed in Bharathanatyam style of dance set to music composed and executed by Sangeetha (female vocal) and Mohan Ayyar (keyboard). Other artists were Anand Dixit on male vocals, Bala Sankar on Mridangam and Balaji Jagannathan on violin who made the action complete or rather replete with enough emotion to cause every one to sit up and take note.
Scenes such as the meeting of Shakuntala and Dhushayanthan were executed well by Govind Pillai and Divya Sriram to “Anantham Yen Solvene” sung by Sangeetha Ayyar and Anand Dixit, the new male voice on the block who will be snapped up for other such productions.
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A nice diversion from the essential theme was the fisherman’s dance in a well known boat song popular in Kerala sung by Uma Ayyar and other singers portrayed enthusiastically by various children in their middle years. All in all a grand effort however it would be good to see other productions were senior experienced dancers come together with their teachers.
Selection of Songs
On the selection of songs for the production I asked Mohan Ayyar to comment and he says: “Hamsa had selected songs from the Shakuntala movie (featuring MSS and GNB) and had interspersed with some classical bharatanatyam items like Pushpanjali and Tillana. She wanted some additional music composed for some scenes which I did (eg for the boat scene and the forest wedding) but Sangeetha and I thought overall the movie songs did not match the production. Hence with Hamsa’s consent, we just took the lyrics from the movie (composed by Papanasam Sivan) and Sangeetha retuned them in a more classical mood. Some of the songs we used were Anandam en solvEnE (tuned in Bilahari); Manamiga kudhigalipadhum eno (Kharaharapriya); ManamohanAnga anange (Pantuvarali)”. Other songs used were a Pushpanjali in Hamsadhwani composed by R. Vishweshwaran, Rasikapriya jathiswaram (Lalgudi Jayaraman) and Kadanakuthuhalam Tillana (Balamuralikrishna).
The second half of the concert comprising of Meera’s love for Krishna and the cruel treatment she faced under the reign of King Rana was portrayed with seeming mixture of various dance styles. With some kathak expressions thrown in between the song “Paga Ghunguroo” was sung exceptionally well by Sangeetha Ayyar. For the second half Meera, lighter ragas with a Hindustani base (such as Behag, Bhageswari and Yaman) were chosen to match the over theme. The songs used were jAgho bhansiwArE; jhulatha rAdha; pag ghunguru bandhe; mOrE thO girdhara gOpAlA and hari thum harO. Excerpts of Manamiga is here:
LISTEN TO Manamiga – Retuned by Sangeetha & Mohan Ayyar and sung by Sangeetha and Anand accompanied by Mohan, Balaji and Bala Sankar.