As the sun sets on Svanubhava festival, A new found appreciation for heritage rises as the cultural revolution reaches the heart of the youth.
A Festival to Remember
A festival where individuals meet art. A place where art thrives in every corner. People who look to relish art for all its grandeur and beauty. Such is Svanubhava. I eagerly woke up in the morning anticipating the events of the last day of this wonderful festival. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be tragically funny if this day was the most memorable of all three days?”. I turned out to be absolutely correct. I’m not sure if it was the outstanding performances, the devout volunteers, or the ambience of the gorgeous kalakshetra school, but I felt slightly gloomy knowing that it was the third and final day of Svanubhava festival.
The morning began with a concert by Smt. Sangeetha Sivakumar. From Khamas Varnam, to Panthuvarali, Kambodhi, and finally Jagadodhaarana in Kapi, students and rasikas gave her their complete attention. It was heartwarming to see her children on the side of the stage watching their mother and T.M. Krishna, Sangeetha’s husband on the side as well.
Next was the Prahlada Charitram by Melattur Natya Vidhya Sangham. According to Bhagavata Mela tradition to which the drama was presented, only men act in the drama as both male and female. This artform which has been in existence since around 11th century is the only surviving link in Tamil Nadu that connects us to Sanskrit theatre today.
Fully rendered in Telugu, Prahlada Charitram is the famous tale of Prince Prahlada who’s ardent devotion for Lord Vishnnu enrages his father, Lord Hiranyakashapu who intially tries to ‘beat the Vishnu’ out of him as the king is a devout Shivite. When his efforts grow futile, he resorts to more drastic measures, like attempting to kill his own son. Each cast member was spectacular in their portrayels of the characters.
The final scene was so riveting and powerful, I truly felt as though we were in Lord Narasimha’s presence witnessing the end Lord Hiranyakashapu.
Kathakali, is a beloved artform for reasons I need not say. The aesthetic beauty and grace with which dancers perform is magnificent to watch. Pava Kathakali is not only a great introduction to the wonders of Kathakali dancing, but along with Chinese pupppetry, it occupies an important position in International puppetry. With the revival of this artform in 1981, the Sangeet Natak Academy and the Department of Culture excavated old puppets as well as made new ones. Many were trained to become master artists in this field and new plays were composed.
Vayaskara Arya Narayanan Moossatu’s Duryodana Vadham was the chosen piece of the day. Covering all the major aspects of Mahabharatha, the puppeteers paid attention to the smallest of details of artistic expression to give a performance that captivated all the viewers in the auditorium.
Pava Kathakali made a fantastic edition to this year’s festival and I for one, look forward to Svanubhava bringing more such rich experiences to the platform.
When I heard that Mysore Nagaraj and Manjunath were giving a violin recital in conclusion to Svanubhava festival, I knew the audience were in for an aural treat. The duet began with ‘Akhilandeshwari’ in Dwijanvanthi ragam. Impeccable “sruti suddham” and magnificent flow of creativity dominated throughout the concert and the audience could not get enough of the two violinists.
Mridangist, Bangalore Sri Arjun Kumar and Ghatam vidwan, Sri Giridhar Uduppa, gave fiery accompaniment and shined together as a team during the thani avarthanam (percussion solo).
I hope through such initiatives people become inspired to understand and appreciate India’s vast and rich culture. There is so much to learn, explore and marvel at in India.
Our roots and heritage should not go unnoticed, and it is my sincere wish that Svanubhava rises again and again!