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Bharatiyar's Poetry In Dance

Ranjani Saigal

Tamil lovers were enthralled to see a fascinating Bharatanatyam production that brought the poetry of the great freedom fighter Subramanya Bharathi to life.  Titled "Bharata Samudayam Vazhgave" the presentation included some of the finest works of the great poet. The dancers Roja Kannan, Lavanya Ananth and Priya Murle wove their distinctive styles together to create a aesthetic blend of movements that conveyed powerful ideas and emotions.

The dance held at the Natick High School auditorium on June 10, 2006 was a fundraiser organized by Manitha Neyam ,  a charitable organization that supports many of the needy in Sri Lanka. The goal of this fundraiser was to raise money to provide Braille machines to a school for the blind in Sri Lanka. Thanks to the generosity of the Perkins School for the Blind in New England they obtained ten machines free of cost and got another ten machines at a very low price.

The dance presentation opened with “Potri Jaya Jaya Potri” taken from Bharatiyars “Pudumai Penn” or liberated woman poetry series. The number which was a Ragamalika and Talamalika presentation brought out the very progressive ideas that the poet presents for the new woman who he says is bold yet kind, educated but serviceable. 

 Lavanya Ananth in "Om Shakti" described and portrayed the pantheon of gods  and prayed to them for strength and courage. The poem is a classic in contemporary devotional poetry.  Priya Murle presented Agni Kun where Bharathi  in  uses a tiny spark as a symbol of courage and talks about how a little spark can set a whole forest on fire.  The line “When it comes to courage there is no one small or big” was perhaps used by Bharati to exhort the Indians under the control of the powerful British to burn up the forest with their spark.  Priya’s movements that were controlled yet full of passion brought the essence of this piece.

Thaga Thaga by Roja Kannan talked about the uplifting of those who suffered due to social apathy. Her powerful expressions combined with her strong movements made this a piece to remember.

In the second half the trio in wonderful spurt of creative choreography performed a medley of all the popular Bharatiyars songs. Vellai Tamarai, Manthil Uridi, Chinnan Chiru Kiliye, Kummi, Asai Mugam Marandu, Parkulle Nala Nadu, Teeratha Vilyatu Pillai, Kavadi Chandu and final piece Aaduvome Palli Paduvome tied the theme of Bharatam Baaratam and Bharathi together to show how talented Bharatanatyam dancers can bring the genius of the great Bharati to life on stage to address many of the issues facing Baaratam today.

Smt . Meena Subramanyam did a fabulous job anchoring the show. Suresh Shiva Chidambaram dressed as Bharati himself presented a vote of thanks on behalf of Manitha Neeyam.

The show was a treat for lovers of dance  and Tamil.

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