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Jaya Maruthi – A Brilliant Portrayal!

Vanitha Kumar

While the rest of the nation was only looking forward to a mere gustatory thanksgiving treat, a very privileged audience at Chinmaya Mission - Andover, was being delighted by a visual treat par excellence, on November 19, 2011. Jothi Raghavan and her students Manasa Jayanthi, Suhasini Aravindhan, Ramya Raghupathy and Bhavana Chalupadi enthralled the audience with a splendid Bharathanatyam presentation called Jaya Maruthi.

Jothi Raghavan is no stranger to performing arts enthusiasts of the greater Boston area.  She is a highly regarded and well respected Bharathanatyam dancer, choreographer and teacher in Massachusetts.   So it came as no surprise to the audience to see such high caliber, world class performance right in their neck of the woods.

Jothi’s students started off the show with a graceful Pushpanjali in Ragamalika .This was followed by Jothi’s solo presentation of Purandara Dasa’s Jaya Janaki Ramana. In this piece she brilliantly exemplified Rama’s heroic qualities and praised him as the vanquisher of the 10 headed Ravana.

The highlight of the evening was a very brisk and poetic Hanuman Kavithuvam in tamil, composed by Madurai Muralidharan in raagam Panthuvarali, thaalam Adi.  This vigorous dance was rendered enthusiastically by Jothi’s very skilled and well coordinated students.  Muralidharan’s rhythmic nattuvangam and Jothi’s energetic choreography provided an audio-visual extravaganza.  Suhasini Aravinthan did a fabulous job of balancing on one foot as she spun on her heel while depicting Hanuman’s quest for Seetha.

Next piece in the repertoire was a Marathi abhang, in which a coy Seetha (portrayed by Jothi), is being told that her Raghu Nandana has broken the bow and is ready to claim her hand. “Go garland him” her friend says, “You have been dreaming of him all day and night”.  Even to those unfamiliar with the language, singer Srikanth Gopalakrishnan’s ability to emote and Jothi Raghavan’s ability to tell a story made it very easy to follow along and enjoy this lovely dance.

Thani slokam followed. In this solo item, Jothi enacted a very endearing scene from Valmiki Ramayana where Sita challenges Rama to a swimming competition.  Later Rama suffering from pangs of separation recollects this incident to Lakshmana, “O Lakshmana, is this not the rock where we had such fun?”

This recital was concluded with two Thulasidas bhajans.  Jothi’s students danced the first one - Sri Ramachandra Kripalu to a delightful choreography by Padmabushan Professor CV Chandrasekhar in which they described Rama as the embodiment of compassion.  Bhajamana Ramacharana followed, where Jothi lovingly described the entire Ramayana in a nutshell.

As Jothi graciously thanked the poets, sages, composers of yesteryears and contemporary times for making this all possible, the mesmerized audience sure enough thanked her for an enchanting evening!

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