Guru Bragha Bessel & Season Dance Reviews

  • Published By: The Sruti Foundation
  • Issue: 450

guru Bragha Bessel
by Anjana Anand

BRAGHA BESSELL - Spurred on by the quest for learning Anjana Anand There are some dancers who shine quietly through the glamour and clamour of the dance world. Bragha Bessell is one such artist whose unassuming personality only adds lustre to her artistic persona. She does not belong to the glamorous and svelte gen-next, but her art and artistry transcend these to create magic on stage. Light footed and graceful in her nritta, coupled with a flair for nuanced abhinaya, Bragha is a composite performer. As the audience watches in rapt attention, she is at one moment a coy nayika, the next a haughty courtesan and in a flash—a pining bhakta! Bragha has travelled the world over to share the rich abhinaya tradition through workshops, lecture demonstrations and performances. She is an empaneled artist of Doordarshan. Bragha Bessell, known as a disciple of Adyar K. Lakshman and Kalanidhi Narayanan, has absorbed the best of both gurus over decades of association. She has also had the good fortune of learning from natyacharyas like Mangudi Durairaja Iyer and Chidambaram Kunchitapadam Pillai.

Season Reviews - Dance
by Sujatha Vijayaraghavan

SEASON / DANCE @ THE MUSIC ACADEMY - The classic and the contemporary Sujatha Vijayaraghavan The classic came to the fore and substantiated its appeal in the performance of Narthaki Nataraj (see front cover) for the Music Academy in its dance festival in January 2022. She had the advantage of dancing to the music and nattuvangam of her guru, the doyen K.P. Kittappa Pillai, descendant of the Tanjavur Quartet. As the concerts were all virtual, owing to the pandemic, the dancers were required to perform to quality recorded music. Praveen?Kumar adhered to the margam format with the Quartet navaragamalika varnam as the central piece. This was preceded by the ragamalika jatiswaram with the Aditya hridayam sloka as the opener. His nritta combines the visranti with quick flashes of fast footwork and movements, adding punch to the familiar and traditional adavus. Sensitive to the music, his movements reflect the swaras and the music, in familiar yet novel applications. His sringara in the varnam, though nayika centric, savoured of bhakti.

Centenary Tribute - Calcutta S. Krishnamurti
by Raji Suresh

REMEMBERING CALCUTTA K.S. KRISHNAMURTI (1921-1999) My father KSK Raji Suresh My father, K.S. Krishna­murti, was a native of Kallidaikurichi, in Tirunelveli district. He was born on 21 December 1921 in a middle class family and was the eighth child of his parents Sankararamaiyer and Meenakshi Ammal. He had his schooling at his hometown up to eighth form and was very good at his studies throughout; mathematics was his favourite subject. Right from his childhood he had a liking for Carnatic music. He had the good fortune of starting his formal training in Carnatic music and learnt a number of kritis from Muthiah Bhagavatar and Papanasam Sivan as they were his neighbours. Krishnamurti moved to Madras to continue his studies and joined the Hindu High School at Triplicane. He was fortunate to have G.V. Narayanaswamy, father of GNB, as one of his teachers. After completing his schooling successfully, he went to Chidambaram in 1939 to study mathematics at the two-year Intermediate college level at Annamalai University.

Latha Mangeshkar
by K. Arun Prakash

TRIBUTE LATA MANGESHKAR - The magic of her music K. ARUN PRAKASH Playback singing in films is an art in itself laced with numerous intricacies. The lyricist and the composer create a song according to a situation in a film. Comprehending the character of the tune and the lyrics and reproducing it with all the emotional subtleties and nuances is an extremely challenging task for a singer. Lata Mangeshkar, one of the greatest playback singers, leaves one awestruck and soaked in the music in the way she did all of the above. Lata’s first guru, father Dinanath Mangeshkar, was a trained musician and a theatre actor. Little Lata started learning classical music at the age of five, and gave her first concert when she was thirteen. She used to even act and sing in her father’s plays. Dinanath’s untimely death shattered the family, and Lata took on the burden of shouldering the responsibility and thereby started singing in films. Apparently, her first song in a Marathi film went unreleased. Lata went to Bombay, and the rest is history.
Issue 28 March 2022

CONTENTS       Vol. 29  Issue 3  March 2022

6      News & notes

12    Birthday calendar

14    Bragha Bessell

24    Season 2021-22

   Dance programmes

    v Angles and arches v At the Music Academy v At Kalakshetra 

     v Through the lens

40   Centenary tribute v Calcutta K.S. Krishnamurti

43   Tributes v Lata Mangeshkar v G. Sundari

50   From the Editor

Front Cover: Bragha Bessell
      The dance season: Narthaki Nataraj
(photo by Avinash Pasricha),  
     G. Narendra,
 Christopher Gurusamy (photo by Kash photography),
Mahati Kannan, Rama Vaidyanathan (photo by Priyanka Anil)

No. 450