With old songs, new dances and little-known anecdotes, a tribute to MS Subbulakshmi
For most of us, music is the only dimension by which we know MS Subbulakshmi. But on the singera��s centenary, her grand niece, writer-director Gowri Ramnarayan, would like to give us a peek into a lesser-known side of hera��as a lover of dance. Not only did Subbulakshmi do a photo series of abhinayas for a Tamil song, Kandathundo kannan pol, written for her by Kalki Krishnamurthy, the poet and freedom fighter (and Ramnarayana��s grandfather), but she also taught abhinaya to her step-daughter Radha and Ramnarayana��s mother, Anandhi. a�?That was a time of cultural renaissance, when people felt that bharatnatyam was not something immoral,a�? begins Ramnarayan. a�?In the 1930s, my grandfather and Subbulakshmia��s husband, T Sadasivam, decided their daughters must study it. And Subbulakshmi sang for them.a�?
With information gleaned from family albums and conversations with her mother, Ramnarayan has picked five songs associated with Subbulakshmi and dancea��ranging from Bharati to Kambara��to create an evening of dance, poetry and memories. a�?We arena��t recreating anything; we are just remembering her through this performance, titled Malai Pozhudinile (Twilight Dream). Priyadarsini Govind will dance, Nisha Rajagopalan will sing, and I will begin each performance with a small narrativea��explaining the song and sharing anecdotes to show how deeply she was influenced by dance,a�? she says. Simple and straightforward, Ramnarayan insists the performance a�?is from our heartsa�? and hopes it will help revive an interest in a�?our art history and throw light on that period of renaissancea�?.
Tomorrow, at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, from 7 pm. Details: 24643420
a��Surya Praphulla Kumar