Malini Srinivasan is a dancer with an offbeat story — she has come back to Bharatanatyam after a gap of 18 years just for the love of it. She was earlier with Guru K.J.Sarasa in Chennai, and is now training with Balagurunathan and Gayathri in Singapore.Malini presented ‘Navaraathri Nayakiyar,’ an ode to the three forms of Devi, conceptualised and choreographed by Gayathri. It was a compilation of slokas on Durga (‘Shankaranudan aadi,’ ragamalika), Lakshmi (Ashtalakshmi stuthi, ragamalika, Adi) and an Abheri thillana in Adi with lyrics on Saraswati (’Vellai thamarai poovil iruppal,’). The music for the last two was composed by T.K.Padmanabhan.
Right from the opening Mallari (Gambhira Nattai, khanda triputa), a brisk tempo was maintained through the 70-minute programme. The lyrics had been given a matter of fact treatment and the attributes of the Devis were couched within nritta and thattu mettu sequences. The Ashtalakshmi stuthi had been well researched and each form of Lakshmi was described with its relevant symbolism. This was the centerpiece of the programme and had a sprinkling of theermanams as well.
Sans narratives, this blitzkrieg of rhythm might have been hard to take, but the presentation piggybacked on Malini’s passion, energy and her impressive stage presence. Her timekeeping and footwork were commendable like in the trikalam theermanam with the nadai bedam. Her torso could be firmer and some exuberant arm movements maybe toned down for further refinement of the style.
The wonderful orchestra was a big contributor as well. Gayathri (nattuvangam) spearheading the effort very efficiently made a pretty picture with her obvious enjoyment of the music and dance. Hariprasad (vocal) was excellent; T.K.Padmanabhan (violin) and B.Muthukumar (flute) gave good leads to the singer in the frequent raga switches while always producing excellent melody. K.P. Rameshbabu (mridangam) was equally skilful with rhythm.
This is surely an inspiration for those closet artists who still have the passion within.