Shriya Srinivasan’s performance was supported by a strong orchestra.

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Shriya Srinivasan performing at Narada Gana Sabha's Margazhi Festival, 2022.
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Shriya Srinivasan performing at Narada Gana Sabha’s Margazhi Festival, 2022. Photo credit: Special Arrangements

Shreya Srinivasan seems to have inherited his passion for Bharatanatyam from his mother, senior dancer-teacher Sujata Srinivasan, who is also his guru. His Grace, Time and Ajotham suggest rigorous training and preparation.

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Shriya’s performance was a musical treat, filled with melodious compositions by stalwarts — K. Hariprasad (vocals), Klairasan (violin) and T. Sasheedhar (flute). Opening with the Kuntalavarali invocatory piece ‘Bhogendra Sainam’ (Jhampa Tala, Swati Thirunal), she moved on to the unusual Tana Varnam in Bahaag, ‘Vanjaksha’ (Aadi, TR Subramaniam), followed by the Bhairavi Ramanathakam song, ‘ Yarrow Ivar Yarrow’. ’ (Adi, Arunachal Kavi) and then Pantuvaralipadam ‘Netruvarin’ (Adi, Subramair). He ended up with Narushat Thalana (Aadi, TN Shishagopalan).

Sujata, who was on the natuwangam, presented the ‘Sashankha’ shloka to ‘Bhogendra’, which was folded with a jathi in relation to the khandam and thattu metu to keep it alive. Shreya was a reservoir of energy and handled everything that came her way with ease.

Varnam’s trikala jathi had the usual components of speed, third and usi parts, yet the choreographer (Sajatha) added more. It is surprising how the Natuvanars of ancient times arrived at such a perfect combination. The other was an old Vazhovar favourite, ‘Thadiku Dingo’ followed by one in Khandam. They were enjoyable. Sujata’s natuwangam was competent, though her solo delivery was unclear. Was it the mic or the voice?

Short stories shed light on the ghazals. Rukmini’s runaway marriage with Krishna was one – it was interesting to see how Sujata used Sarpa Nadai when Rukmini went to the temple before being taken away by Krishna. Another notable phrase was for ‘Swami Sri Venugopala’ when the dancer described how the animals stopped in their tracks when they heard Krishna’s flute. The ending with many of Krishna’s friezes proved his versatility and agility.

Shreya is quite expressive, though her portrayal of Rama in ‘Yaaru’ could have been sharper, as there was already some confusion as to whether the speaker was Rama or Sita.

In ‘Netru’, Shreya uses one arm outstretched Alapadama, Ardachandra and Alapadama mudras successively. Sujata later explained that she was indicating the passage of time – from full moon and crescent moon to full moon, to indicate that Nayaka had not appeared.

Clearly the Thalana ‘Tanana Dharana’ proved the energy of Shreya. This inspired Mridangist Ramesh Babu to add his own dramatic fillers to Mei Advos and a few others.

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