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Kalyana Krishna Dance & Music Festival 2009

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A three day Music and Dance Festival was held at Kochi on the 11th, 12th and 13th of December 2009 under the aegis of Kalyana Krishna Foundation. The event witnessed a fusion of cultural performances by renowned artists from different parts of the country.

The event was inaugurated by Sri.O.N.V Kurup, noted poet and lyricist, followed by a commemorative speech by Sri. Ambalapuzha Rama Varma. The function was presided over by Mr.Jyotis Balasubramaniam, the founder of Kalyana Krishna Foundation. Mr. Jyotis, in his presidential address, recollected how he happened to see the signature of Padmasree Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair, well preserved in one of the famous art galleries in New York. He wanted the present generation to understand the greatness of the two “universal ambassadors” (Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair and Kalamandalam Kalyanikuttyamma) in the field of art and their contributions in bringing up two art forms to the global level. India, being the treasure trove of diverse cultural and art forms, entitles every Indian to a right to preserve and honour our cultural heritage. He said that the presence of such luminaries at this event has given him the inspiration to march forward with this venture.

The ceremonial lamp was lit by Sri.O.N.V Kurup, the Chief Guest of Honour, followed by other distinguished invitees on the dais. The customary conch and thimila was played in the background, bringing in an auspicious note to the function.

In his inaugural address, Sri O.N.V said that how best an art form can be used, is what is important. He said that, both Sri Krishnan Nair Ashan and his better half, “Kallu ettathy” is an unusual couple, who lived for the sake of art and breathed life into their respective art forms. He stated “My tribute to them is like freshly churned and purified butter given as an offering to God. They were not just great tutors, but were great blessed souls”. He reminisced of instances where the audience was given a glimpse of the characters of these two personalities. According to him, as there is only one Tagore to Bengalis, we have only one Ashan, i.e. Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair. His throne remains unoccupied and will remain so.

Sri O.N. V Kurup

An endowment award was given to Sri.Kalamandalam Keshava Poduval, in appreciation of the contribution he has made to the field of Kathakali as a maestro in Chenda. Sri Rama varma, being an authority on kathakali, in his speech, gave a detailed account of different types of Vesham portrayed by Krishnan Nair Ashan. To him, no other artist can take the credit of having performed in such a variety of roles. He said, “Ashan always stood far ahead in the portrayal of characters. He could blend into the character easily and be effervescent”.

Keshava Poduval, accepting the award, recollected how he became a member of Kalamandalam and also with humility expressed his thanks for having chosen him for this great honour.

Vote of thanks was given by Mr.Ashok Kumar, the son of Sri Krishnan Nair and Kalyanikuttyamma. He said by the presence of such personalities, the foundation will surely reach great heights in terms of success. It is an inspiration for the members and they bow before these personalities with utmost humility.

The function was followed by a Kathakali performance “Rugmangada Charitam”, the story of King Rugmangada by renowned artists. Thonnakkal Peethambaran played the role of the protagonist with verve and elegance. His delicate and vivacious abhinaya was noted throughout the performance. Margi Vijayan as Mohini also was an equivalent partner for Peethambaran Ashan. Other artists were also able to do justice to the roles assigned to them.

Thonnakkal Peethambaran & Margi Vijayan

2nd day.

A discussion on Social Awareness and Cultural Gathering marked the beginning of the second day. Well known personalities like Justice K. Sukumaran and Adv. M.R.Rajendran were invited to speak on the occasion.

Justice K. Sukumaran was of opinion that Krishnan Nair Ashan contributed not just to the State of Kerala but to the entire country. He was a blessed soul and that makes him stand apart from the crowd. He said that since he is not an exponent in the field of art he did not have much to say. But whatever his views are regarding art and culture, it is like a small sachet of beaten rice offered by Kuchela to Lord Krishna. He voiced that there is an absence of co-ordination among the Indians. He said, “We have to revive and restore our cultural values and defeat the insurgence of science”. Such events should be held frequently in order to create awareness amongst the local masses.

Adv.M.R.Rajendran opined that by organizing and conducting such events, the attempts made by the foundation are praiseworthy. He was indeed impressed by the activities organized by the foundation. He stated that we have to preserve our values and that the organization could bank on their whole hearted support throughout.

Vote of thanks was given by Mr. K N Bahuleyan, an active member of the foundation.

This was followed by on Odissi performance by Advaitha Mane from Pune. The foundation has a policy of providing a platform for upcoming artists to display their talents in their respective fields. She began her recital with a prayer to Lord Jagannatha which was followed by an ‘Abhinaya’. Here she presented the role of Radha as Mughdha Nayika in the composition “Pranasangini” by Vanamali Das. The confused state of Radha’s mind and her dismay when she discovers Krishna in the guise of a young maiden putting altha on her feet was vividly portrayed by the dancer. She concluded her performance with a Dashavathar from Jayadeva’s Gita Govindam.

The second day actually saw ‘laasya’ in its two different forms. The Mohiniyattam recital by Smt. Smitha Rajan only added more to the sumptuous spread. She had selected just the right items blending both modern and traditional in theme. Strictly adhering to the ‘chitta’ so well propagated by her maternal grandmother; none other than the Mother of Mohiniyattam - Smt Kalamandalam Kalyanikuttyamma, Smitha began her performance with “Rithu Vasantham”, where she eloquently essayed a maiden’s reaction to the panoramic display of nature during spring. Much acclaimed padam from Kuchelavritham attakatha “Ajitha Hare” was the next to follow. The rendition in Mohiniyattam style brought out Smitha’s distinctive style. The meeting of Kuchela and Krishna, his hesitancy in meeting the Lord, his devotion to the lord – were all safe in the hands of this dancer. She concluded her performance with a ‘Saptham’ portraying the warrior Rani Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi. An insight into to the life of Jhansi rani: how she became the warrior queen, were all sketched with much fervour. The innovative theme taken from an episode from Indian History has only emphasized the dancer in Smitha.

Smitha Rajan

Advaita Mane

3rd day.

The functions of the third day began with a discussion on “Cultural Gathering” by the eminent professor Sri. M.K Sanu. He was backed up by the veteran lyricist, Sri.R.K Damodaran. Sanu Master, as he is popularly known, began his speech in his usual rhetoric style. He was all praise for the organisers for having brought out such a venture in the field of art. He emphasized on the need of preserving our art and culture for the forthcoming generations. He said instead of being a prey to the cultural dominance of America, we should preserve our own cultural diversions and dimensions. Natyasastra, being the 5th Veda according to Bharathmuni, also possesses unimpaired divinity. He said, “Kerala needs to be saved from the devilish grip of thugs and "quotations”, or let the State be eroded by sea".

R.K.Damodaran opined that the younger generation possesses a destructive mentality and this is clearly seen in the slang words they use in their day-to-day conversations. The society of today can be considered as the leftover of a mind devoid of art and culture. We need a society that leads the generation from destructive mind to constructive mind. Uplift from the ‘Jeevatma’ to the eternal bliss or ‘Paramatma’ is needed. The present generation needs to concentrate more on reading and developing their creative mind.

The vote of thanks was given by Smt Sreedevi Rajan, the Director of Kalyana Krishna Foundation. She emphasized that the aim of the foundation is to create cultural awareness among the present generation. The foundation is following in the footsteps of literary giants in the field of art and culture.

The Sopana Sangeetham by Njaralath Harigovindan was rendered with much zeal. He began this music thapasya with a Devistuthi followed by popular pieces from Ashtapadi like “priye charusheele”, “lalitha lavangala” and “Vande Mokunda Hare”. The audience was given a surprise by Peringodu Subramanian who assisted Harigovindan, by playing popular numbers like “Thechi mandaram” and “Harivaraasanam” on edakka. Harigovindan was seen to divert from the traditional path of sopana sangeetham. According to him, applying innovative ideas to this art form could help rescue it from extinction. 

Veteran Bharathanatyam dancer from Chennai, Kalaimamani Parvathy Ravi Ghantasala and her disciples delighted the audience with a dance drama “Annamaiyya”. The story of Thalamakkam Annamacharya , a saint belonging to the Bhakthi cult was vividly portrayed through the choreography of Krishnakumari Narendran in Bharathanatyam style. The dancer enacted the saint’s dream of Lord Venkatesha and how he was guided to the temple at Thirumala by Alamelu Manga. The spiritual journey he undertakes affects his own personality and the compositions he made were imprints of this devotion. Each and every episode was presented with clarity and devotion. She demonstrated the greatness of the lord’s feet that led to the salvation of Ahalya, Kaliya and Mahabali with great eloquence. She was complemented by her fellow dancers.

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