Watching the arangetram of a brother and sister duo schooled in Temple of Fine Arts Malaysia last week, gave an opportune moment for me to feel the throb of the artistic vision of the institute’s founder Swami Shantanand Saraswati.
In relishing the performance of Thivya Revati and Divya Shesshsan dancing to three soulful compositions of the late swamiji, I could envision the potency of the creative seed that has sprouted the full grown TFA tree that is a sanctuary for the preservation of the rich tradition of Indian art and culture in Malaysia.
The mesmerising padams, Shringara Velavane, Ananda Krishnan and Vanna Kuzhal Oodhi Vaa in clear and crisp Tamil soulfully sung by Nandakumar Unnikrishnan from India at the arangetram show, spoke volumes of the artistic genius of the swamiji and his deep love for the arts.
The siblings who performed in TFA Malaysia’s Shantanand auditorium which has become a favourite venue for Indian classical shows in the Kuala Lumpur city, also gave their undivided effort to exemplify the oozing rasa of the institute’s beloved preceptor. The ambience for the show was provided by the orchestra with nattuvangam by TFA’s Bharatanatyam department head, Shankar Kandasamy, V.R. Chandrashekar on mridangam, violinist Kanagamani Vijayendra and flautist, G. Shridhar.
Shankar who was the dancers’ arangetram guru did a good job of identifying the individual strengths of the two siblings to accordingly choreograph their dance repertoire for the arangetram.
Thivya Revati whose immaculate footwork and expressive face is a delight to watch, complemented well with her brother’s nimble upper body movements especially given his long limbs and lean physique. This was especially evident in the Varnam piece Swami Nan Unthan Adimai.
Assuming the roles of Siva and Parvathi, the siblings successfully evoked the song composer Papanasam Sivan’s meditations of the pastimes of the Divine pair in particular their cosmic dance, to hold the attention of the audience who packed the auditorium.
I particularly enjoyed the sibling’s rendition of the moving Ananda Krishnan number which is based on the beautiful relationship of blind poet Soordas with Lord Krishna.
Both Thivya Revati and Divya Shesshsan playing the role of the playful Lord Krishna and His intimate bhakta Soordas respectively, tugged at the audience’s hearts with their perfect rapport. But what mesmerised me was witnessing the rhapsodic moment of the flowering of Swami Shantanand Saraswati’s vision through the sibling’s recital at the TFA auditorium.
Review by R. Sittamparam. Pictures by Dr Vijaya Sangkar Jaganathan.