Review - Meera Sreenarayanan

Meera Sreenarayanan, in her margam for Narada Gana Sabha's season 2023 festival, performed the swarajati, Ye Madhayanara in raga Husseni as the centerpiece. The varnam commenced with the nayika fashioning a prop, the portrait of her lord and the king, and setting out to show it to him. She barges in rightfully, dismissing the people around him and proudly shows off her work. Perceiving his disinterest, she is infuriated and questions him. She is sure that another woman has ensnared him and gives him a piece of her mind, deriding the physical appearance of the woman. She then used a sanchari to demonstrate the evil ways of the other woman, and in the process, Meera morphed into the evil woman. Further into the composition, she was the sweet yet bold nayika, reminding him of how beautiful and love-filled their days had been. With elegance, she flattered and praised the king, moving from bhava to bhava, whole and earnest. Meera’s nayika was bold, demanded her place and was no-holds-barred in her quest for love.

Meera has dance packed into every cell of her, and she was in constant motion - dancing some part of her body, responding to music even when still. Her agility and speed were so high that she could pack in a couple of brahmaris prior to her kitta thaka thari kitathom. This was beautifully leveraged in the choreography. The jatis were long and complex, which Meera executed beautifully yet never giving the impression of calisthenics or show of athleticism. Meera performed Jagadodharana, a beautiful ode to motherhood where Yasodha plays and nurtures young Krishna, oblivious of the mighty avatarams her son has donned. In this composition, as the narrator, she depicted the mightiness of each avataram and juxtaposed that with an earthly, motherly moment she has with him. It was a heartwarming composition.

This was followed by a javali, Taru Maru Lade Vemay, where Meera donned the role of a man who is trying to warm up to his lady and has his advances constantly brushed off. It was short and humorous, but post the boldness in the varnam, one wished for a composition which necessitated restraint and layering.


Sreelatha Rajan

PC: Anoop Raveendran