Picture this. You spend decades practising and perfecting an art, you achieve
distinction, dignity and self-esteem, and one fine day you are invited to perform
at a very special occasion. You are well-rehearsed and all set to enthrall a huge
crowd and move them into the throes of ecstasy. You get on to a stage to perform
for the massive open-air gallery. And there's all of 15 persons there.
What happened last evening was poignant. It was moving to the extreme to watch
a person of the stature of Gummadi Gopala Krishna, the winner of the Swarna Nandi,
all decked up and delivering thundering dialogues to an empty and huge open-air
gallery. And it only enhanced your respect for the distinguished performers who
actually sat there and honored their commitment, in a situation that would make
lesser men and women feel disgraced.
Musical and literary programs cast the second evening's show, which had little
audience but for the drizzling raindrops. For the seated few, though, the recitals
continued, thanks to the ethics of the performers.
Noted AIR staff artist Kotta Achi Babu gave a clarinet recital, which was extremely appreciated. This rare, originally Western instrument producing classical Carnatic melodies saw a surprising blend - a Western voice with an Eastern mood. All catchy numbers go with such an instrument. And so was the choice of Achi Babu - an interesting blend - with numbers like Hamasadhwani "Vatapi Ganapatim", Jaganmohini "Sobhillu Sapta Swara" with embellished swarakalpanas, and Hamsanadam "Bantureeti".
The Hyderabad Sisters who were to perform could not turn up, and the organizers
brought in two melodious and forceful vocalists, also sisters, Neeta Chandrasekhar
and Seshu Lata. These artists also chose to commence their recital with Muthu
Swamy Dikshitar's composition "Vatapi Ganapatim Bhaje", followed by Jayanta Sri
"Marugelara", a luscious composition of Thyagaraja. They finished their recital
swiftly with "Banturiti Koluvu". Well, it was a coincidence that it was as though
the evening's instrumental (clarinet) music was translated with the following
vocal recital, with the same numbers.
A tall well-built man, Gummadi Gopala Krishna, sadly had no audience to receive
his elaborate Ekapatra Abhinayam (mono-acting) of Krishna in the scene of 'Rayabaram'.
With elaborate prose passages set to mood melodies and lengthy dialogues, and
Krishna painted blue with heavy headgear, shoulder pads and waist belt, the whole
event was physically and in deed a mono (isolated) acting.
Hope the third evening of the festival has some audience to witness rare traditional
folk forms like Chindu Bhagavatam, Oggu Katha and the traditional drama 'Sri Krishna