Periyachi Roshini Arangetram Review

Periyachi Roshini enthralled the audience with her infectious energy and soulful abhinaya, writes Swarnavarsha Gurumoorthy 

The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hall, Singapore, recently hosted its first-ever performance – Bharatanatyam Arangetram of Periyachi Roshini, student of Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society (SIFAS) under the tutelage of Geethanadhan PK. 

Saraswathi Sthuthi in ragam Saraswathi set to Rupaka Talam ,composed by the legendary GN Balasubramaniam was an energetic start for the recital which had some innovative adavu patterns in the swarams. This kriti glorifying Goddess Saraswati was set to dance by Geethanadhan who gave the nattuvangam support for the evening. 

In the Varnam, Adi Sivane in ragam Thodi set to Adi Talam, a composition of the maestro KN Dandayudapani Pillai, Roshini effortlessly played a nayika (heroine) who yearns for the formless Adi Sivan dancing in Chidambaram. The sancharis in the first half were aptly chosen though there could have been a longer teermanam on the mridangam before the start of the second half of the Varnam. The jathi compositions by Kiran R Pai coupled with intricate cross patterns might have been a bit challenging for Geethanadhan on the nattuvangam, but the Varnam was testimony to his confidence and imagination as choreographer. 

Chinnanchiru Kiliye played by the instrumentalists kept the audience engaged until she Roshini got back on stage with the Padam – Varugalaamo Ayya in ragam Manji set to Misrachapu, a composition of Gopalakrishna Bharati. Narrating the story of Nandanar, an outcast who was denied entry into the Chidambaram temple, Roshini immersed herself in this abhinaya piece choreographed by Neewin Hershall under whom she trained previously. This soulful piece clearly showed her mastery over facial expressions and also created a personal connection with the audience. 

The fast-paced Keerthanam, Gaana Mazhai in ragamalika set to Rupaka Talamby Ambujam Krishna described the music emanating from Krishna’s flute and the magic it creates. This rare, novel Keerthanam, musically delightful, was choreographed with alternating vivacious movements and a few hurried abhinaya sequences that in hindsight, could have been slower. Roshini’s crowning glory though was the confidence with which she handled this Keerthanam. 

The dancer then went on to portray a nayika who questions her beloved Lord Krishna who seems a bit indifferent to her in the famous Javali, Parulanna Maata in ragam Kapi set to Adi Talam, a composition by Dharmapuri Subbaraya Iyer. As she performed this choreography of Bragha Bessel, the spontaneous switching between the characters was distinct and flawless. Her attention to detail to effectively depict the characters is highly commendable. 

Concluding with a Thillana by Patnam Subramanya Iyer in ragam Khamas set to Adi Talam in a the energy with which the piece was choreographed by Geethanadhan showed her command over nritta with neat adavus, controlled leaps and clear finishes. Well balanced stamina, engaging, intriguing adavu patterns and the ease with which Roshini presented her Arangetram, is reflective of her rigorous training along these years under many teachers. The lighting for the evening was well-managed. 

This being the first performance in the venue, there were sound balancing issues. The impressive orchestra team included T Ramanan on the mridangam who was an asset, accompanied by TP Nishanth (vocal) Niranjan Pandian(flute) and Ganesh Kumar NNR (violin).

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