BLESSINGS FROM ANGELS

by V.A.K. Ranga Rao

Anandhi & Sarala
I honestly cannot recall when and how I met Anandhi Ramachandran. I was a regular at Kalakshetra programmes and on happy terms with singer-nattuvanars Kamalarani, Bhagavatula Seetharama Sarma and the man I described as second to Nandi as far as dance was concerned, Karaikudi R. Krishnamurthy. You should have heard, and seen him play for Krishnaveni and Srividya (MLV’s daughter who learnt Bharatanatyam from K.N. Dandayudhapani Pillai). His ‘dance’ and their ‘percussion’ was a heady combination. No, Nandi would not have been jealous but definitely he would have been interested.

I think Anandhi was on the staff of Kalakshetra and as far as I was concerned, she was a spokesperson trying to generate goodwill in me for Kalakshetra. No, I was not against the institution, knowing about the Everest that was carefully groomed by the arts-affinity of Rukmini Devi Arundale and managerial acumen of Sankara Menon.

I was reviewing dance for the Indian Express and it was clear through them that I was not awed by the Kalakshetra aura into turning out namby-pamby write-ups about its productions. Long before this I had been impressed by Usha Parinayam and Rukmangada Charitram staged at the Museum Theatre. I expected this heavenly fusion of music and movement in every production of theirs. I found it in Rukmini Kalyanam (these three were adapted from the Melattur Bhagavata Mela tradition, in the presence of Balu Bhagavatar nodding to Rukmini Devi’s fancies). It was totally absent from Krishnamari Kuravanji, a later production. In Sakuntalam, the pure Blessings from angels V.A.K. Ranga Rao dance by Krishnaveni as Nati was heavenly and the rest of it quite the opposite, two girls from the north-east as Anasuya and Priyamvada taking the cake for abominable pronunciation of Kalidasa’s Sanskrit… read more