Srinidhi Chidambaram: Graceful and vibrant

Srinidhi performed a repertoire largely rooted in classicism

A tall brass lamp adorned with flowers, costume in the traditional arakku and orange / green colour combination, a competent musical team, and pieces rooted in classicism are some constants in the Bharatnatyam performance of Srinidhi Chidambaram.

At ‘Yours Truly Margazhi Festival, however, Srinidhi was clad in refreshing pink, and began with an invocatory jathiswaram addressed to Rama, where she interspersed the Rama Ashtakam with the jathiswaram for a serene portrayal. Graceful adavus combined with laya-suddha footwork added to the vibrancy.

Well-aligned choreography

Srinidhi etched out the various attributes and alankarams of the goddess in the Syama Sastri swarajathi, ‘Amba Kamakshi’, in Bhairavi. The dancer explored the sancharis of a devotee seeking the benevolence of goddess Kamakshi in a poetic manner, aligning well the choreography to suit the leisurely pace of the composition. Radha Badri enhanced the mood with her rendition.

Arunachala Kavirayar’s ‘En palli kondeerayya’ extolled the form and significance of Padmanabha reclining on a serpent bed. The abhinaya explored anecdotes related to the avatars of Vishnu, including one where the devotee asks if he is tired of performing leelas and is now resting.

Switching from the devotional mode, Srinidhi presented a Tamil folk song ‘Valli kanavan perai’ in Chenchurutti, and a Khamas javali, ‘Apaduru’, that gave ample scope for lokdharmi abhinaya.

The first is a folk song that visualises the conversation between a parrot and a nayika besotted by the god Muruga. The movement depicting the bird in flight and the varied expressions of a woman in love were captivatingly expressed. Srinidhi’s face was a canvas of expressions in the javali.

My constant grouse with dance performances has been the injudicious interpolation of songs. For instance, Swati Tirunal’s Dhanasri thillana ‘Gitta dhumiku takadhim’, is a vibrant, lilting composition, and interspersing the bhajan ‘Ghanashyam aayare’ into the thillana disturbed the flow of the composition.

Srinidhi’s almost permanent musical team once again rose to the occasion. Radha Badri provided vocal support, Swamimalai S.K. Suresh was on the cymbals, Nellai Kannan on the mridangam, Eshwar Ramakrishnan on the violin, and Sujit Naik on the flute.

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