Monday 26 August 2019

Recapturing golden moments during Golden Anniversary of Kalasamarpana - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

The packed auditorium of Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai, bore full testimony to the enormous goodwill earned by the Narasimhachari couple in the fifty years of running their institution Kalasamarpana Foundation. Though destiny denied the immediate family and gathering the physical presence of their founder Guru Narasimhachari, an epitome of warmth and good cheer, his genial spirit seemed to pervade the entire proceedings led and conducted with charm and efficiency by his life's partner Vasanthalakshmi, (who had joined him in wedlock as a child bride when but 12 years old) and his two daughters Lasya and Lavanya. Brimful of ever churning ideas with his prodigious music and dance talent, Narasimhachari was one who lived his art 24 hours of the day. And to note down spurts of flashing creative thoughts, to try out in his many productions in Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, was his wife to diligently record what otherwise would soon be a has-been, dimmed with the new ideas taking over. While Bharatanatyam came from the Kalakshetra background, Kuchipudi was in his family with his own father learning under Lakshmi Narayanagaru.

Vasanthalakshmi recounting the guru's ever eager way of trying out changes, gave the example of his Pallaki Seva Prabandham production, where he used the indigenous art form of shadow puppets to show the Palaki with two bearers carrying Shiva to Parvati, his bride, with live dancers also part of the scene. But no matter what the original touches, the core qualities of tradition for the Guru were never negotiable and had to be fully retained. As a consummate musician, his musical scores, in tonal changes, reflected every bodily genuflexion in the dance movement.

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