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Magic of melody

The Capital’s music scenario this past week was marked by Sharan Rani Samaroh, Nagaratnamma and Kunwar Shyam Mahotsav. A review by Manjari Sinha

Manjari Sinha |

To celebrate the 89th birth anniversary of Sangeet Saraswati late Sharan Rani, the Sharan Rani Foundation organised their annual Sharan Rani Samaroh at the India International Centre.

The Sharan Rani Samman was bestowed upon Padma Sachdev and Ashok Chakradhar this year, for their lifetime contribution in the field of literature. The screening of a short film Sharan Rani: The Divine Sarod Player, directed by Radhika Backliwal Narain, was followed by the Samman Samarpan.

The Additional Director General of Doordarshan, P K Subhash, released the film Sangeet Saraswati Guru Sharan Rani, produced by the Doordarshan Archives.

Late Sharan Rani, the only female disciple of Ud Allauddin Khan was also a “Gandabandh Shagird” of the Kathak Guru Pt Acchan Maharaj. Keeping this in mind, a unique Jugalbandi of Sarod and Kathak was presented, featuring Pt Prabhat Kumar, disciple of Guru Sharan Rani on Sarod and Kathak by Vidha Lal, the gifted disciple of Guru Geetanjali Lal.

After the soulful Alap in raga Manjh Khamaj by Prabhat on Sarod; Vidha joined him during the Jod and the Gat compositions and regaled the audience with the flawless Nritta presenting the traditional repertoire of Kathak.


This was followed by her enchanting Abhinay of Ched-Chhad and Holi between Radha-Krishna, on a melodious Malgunji composition of Sharan Rani. With just the magic of melody and rhythm, without any spoken word or song, the duet was a delight.

Story of Nagarathnamma

The Pancharatna Pancharasam Natya was an engaging dance drama production presented by Guru Kanaka Sudhakar and her disciples at the Delhi Tamil Sangam, on the life and times of the legendary Carnatic musician and Devadasi, Nagarathnamma.

The beautifully-conceived and choreographed presentation lucidly brought out the story of Bangalore Nagarathnamma, from her initial music and dance lessons in childhood to her becoming the court musician and dancer of Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar of Mysore.

Later Guru Kanaka Sudhakar herself enacted Nagarathnamma, the cultural activist, scholar descendent of courtesans and the feminist revolutionary, who started Thyagaraja Aradhana at Thiruvaiyaru with the Pancharatna Keerthanas, and built a temple over the Samadhi of Saint Thyagaraja.

This is the year of Saint Thyagaraja’s 250th Anniversary. Hence it was most appropriate to weave the story of Nagarathnamma around the Pancharatna Keerthanas of the saint musician. Guru Kanaka, not only conceived and choreographed the dance drama, but also directed the music for the Natya.

“Endaro Mahanubhavulu…” in raga Sri, for instance, depicts how, noticing the talent of her gifted daughter at the tender age of just five, her mother takes her to best of Gurus, under whose tutelage she excels not only in music and dance but also in Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit literature. And her fame reaches far and wide. The young Saradyuthi, who played the child Nagarathnamma, was simply adorable.

Aparajita Sharma, daughter and disciple of Guru Kanaka looked charming as the youthful court musician and dancer, but the elder Nagarathmanna, enacted by Guru Kanaka herself, was the most convincing. She brought the Natya to its climax with “Jagadanandakaraka…” sung and danced by the whole group.

Kunwar Shyam Mahotsav

The musical compositions of Kunwar Shyam are a precious treasure, popular all over, among the practitioners of Hindustani classical music. The Kunwar Shyam Mahotsav, based on the compositions of the legendary composer, was organised at the India International Centre (IIC)by the descendants of his family.



Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan, of Dilli Gharana, regaled the discerning audience with the choicest compositions of Kunwar Shyam this evening, that had opened with Jnaneshwara Naik from Goa rendering some of the Bandishes of Kunwar Shyam.

Anirban Bhattacharya composed and sang some of his compositions too before accompanying Neelima Beri, who interpreted a few lovely compositions in Kathak dance style.

Opening her delectable dance with an invocation to Krishna with a Dhrupad style Kunwar Shyam composition “Madhava Madhusudan…”, in raga Kedar, set to Sooltala of 10 beats cycle.

Neelima proceeded to Kaliya Daman, where she first created the visual depiction of the whole mythological story on just the melodious strains of raga Yaman on the Flute by Vinay.

This created the ambience for the Bandish that she followed with Dhamar Tala of 14 beats cycle and impressed the audience with the technical aspect of Kathak.

Neelima thoughtfully created the atmosphere of Shringara Rasa with her delicate Gat Nikas and Gat-Bhava for her Abhinaya piece, the concluding Bandishi Thumri “Baat chalat …” in raga Bhairavi. She was ably accompanied on the Tabla by Suraj Nirvan.