What month are we in? So how could this elaborate festival with a potpourri of
performances from some in folk and classical arts to some in theater and pop not
include an evening dedicated to child art?
Titled 'Bala Kala Tarangam', the last day's program saw a number of tiny classical dancers performing on stage with a rare zest and force. These young dancers, diligently trained by Bharatanatyam guru V S Ramamurthy and daughter Manjula Ramaswamy, were a cute sight on stage, and as they proceeded to perform those composed choreographies of their gurus, they held the audience in amazement at seeing such rare talent. A carefully nurtured talent that had the students dance balancing their small feet on earthen pots and holding oil lamps in their tiny palms.
Not only did they show such acrobatic skills, they also displayed their understanding in 'Abhinaya', an expressional dance, and in 'Nritta', imbibing the nuances of pure rhythmic dance. Over fifteen dancers in the age group of four to twelve years performed 'Krishna Leelalu' - depicting the child Krishna and his varied antics, including the wondrous deeds like lifting the mountain Govardhana and subduing the giant serpent Kaliya to dance on its hood.
'Shankara Sri Giri Nada Prabho' of Swati Tirunal, set to a weighty melody Hamsanandini, was a matured choreography portraying the omniscience of Siva that the young ones carried with equal fortitude. A brief dramatization showed Siva reducing Manmadha to ashes.
After this pleasing presentation by children, the Tourism Department, as part of the celebrations, presented a 'fireworks show' for the delight of the public, both the young and the old.
The excitement of a flamboyant display of crackers gave way to that of hearing a light classical recital of the popular vocalist Subha Mudgal. A plethora of Bhajans and Tumaries were not all in her repertoire stored for the evening: there were some popular numbers from her recent albums, too. "Mann Ki Zanjeere" and "Ab Ke Sawan Yu To Barese.Zam Ke Barse Jara" were some songs that enthused her fans in the audience. With a weighty voice and a masculine twist in her tone, Subha Mudgal created a special style appreciated by many music lovers.
The festival on the whole had mixed performances with mixed audiences and mixed reactions, too. It started off on a dull note, but picked up tempo. One of the lessons of this week was that the government is probably not the best organizer of such events. Events of this magnitude need professional managers to give the required hype and draw in the crowds. Someone's backside needs to be on the line, and that can never be the government's. The Department of Tourism did a great job of conceptualization, but it should get in professionals to execute. Like we always say, a cobbler should stick to his last.