Dance Drama "Maruthi Mahimai" Pic. by R. Ragu.
RANGANAYAKI JAYARAMAN of Sri Saraswathi Gana Nilayam is a practitioner of the Pandanallur tradition, who has embellished the style with her own aesthetic sensibilities. Her treatise on Hanuman, `Maruthi Mahimai,' presented by her students, leans heavily on the 9th-10th Century Kamban's `Ramavataram,' especially the Sundara Khanda. If the presentation were to be summed up in one word, it was `lucid'.
Its simple narrative, melodious musical score, and fine standard of dance were vital components of this dance drama. The story telling remained crisp.
The tasteful choreography made use of the plurality to enhance, rather than sensationalise. Another interesting feature was in the use of nritta to depict the fight between Ravana and Hanuman.
The voice intonation by guru Ranganayaki switched according to the characters, so too in the fight sequence between Ravana and Rama, distinct gatis highlighted each character. The use of neraval in the Kapi composition to depict the music competition between Narada and Hanuman was another brainwave.
Binesh Mahadevan as Hanuman was restrained yet effective in his roles as a young, strong and impudent monkey who grows into a devoted, protective Rama bhaktha.
His footwork could do with some improvement though. The other proficient dancers were Padmalakshmi, Sharanya, Aparna, Sathya, Sharmila, Anita, Deepti and Sivapriya.
The credits go to S. Vaidyanathan (lyrics), Ranganayaki Jayaraman (nattuvangam, concept, music and dance choreography), Chitrambari Krishnakumar as Hanuman and Radha Badri for the others (vocals), Nellai D. Kannan (mridangam), A. N. Bhagyalakshmi (flute), Vijayaraghavan (violin), Parthasarathy (sound effects). Lighting by Murugan provided a larger-than-life sensation for the mighty Hanuman.
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