On the eve of Republic Day, the beautiful campus of IIM Bangalore witnesses a beautiful tradition where Bangaloreans from all walks of life enjoy a musical treat presented by some of the best classical musicians and dance maestros of the country.
This year was no different with IIM Bangalore hosting Yamini, the dusk to dawn musical extravaganza organized by SPICMACAY featuring a confluence of various Indian music and dance forms that enthralled a full house at the open-air auditorium . The cold night, notwithstanding, the connoisseurs and art lovers sprawled on the green lawns under the dark night sky in the bon fire lit ambience of IIM B.
The evening began with the Saxophone recital of Padma Shri awardee Dr Kadri Gopalnath, a pioneer of Carnatic music on the Saxophone. He was accompanied by the accomplished violinist Padma Shri A. Kanyakumari on the violin. The maestro began with a rendition of “Gajavadana Beduve” set in Hamsadhwani Raaga, the traditional ode to the Elephant faced god, Ganesha. Next up was “Endaro Mahanubhavulu”, one of the pancharatnakritis composed by the legendary Thyagaraja in the soothing “Shri Raaga”. Shri Gopalnath’s version of this timeless classic drew widespread appreciation from the rapt audience.
The maestro next launched into the merry “Raghuvamsha Sudha”, a popular kriti composed by Patnam Subramania Iyer, leaving the audience gasping and applauding as he weaved through the peppy Kathanakuthuhalam Raaga. A beautiful Alapana in “Abheri” elicited tremendous applause from the discerning crowd which was followed up with another of Thyagaraja’s gems, “Nagumomu ganaleni” set in the same raaga. The thaniavaratnam, a percussion solo where the mridangam, tabla and the morsing vidwans exchanged various complex rhythmic patterns in the charanam of the kriti, had the rousing crowd at the edge of their seats. It culminated in a grand finale where the saxophone joined in to thunderous applause. The maestro bid adieu with the beautiful “Krishna Nee Begane”, a delightful composition set in Yamuna Kalyani raaga which ended with a standing ovation by the delighted assembly.
Up next on the grand menu of this extravagant music feast by the doyens of classical music was the concert by the legendary Prabha Atre. A Padma Bhushan awardee, Prabha Atre is a Hindustani vocalist from Khirana Gharana. The octogenarian maestro was accompanied by Shri Ravindra Yavagal on the Tabla and Vysamurthy Katti on the Harmonium. Her ageless voice resonated across the filled open-air auditorium much to the delight of those gathered.
A lot more was in store for the patrons of dance as well, for on display was Kalyanasougandhikam, a classic kathakali composed by Kottayam Thampuran. A favourite among Kathakali aswadhakas, Kalyanasougandhikam is centred on the meeting between the two sons of Vayu — Hanuman and Bhima. The dance drama, distinguished by the elaborately colourful make-up, costumes and facemasks traditionally worn by the actor-dancers, had the legendary Kottakkal Chandrashekaran donning the role of Bhima who sets out in search of the divine flower sougandhikam at the behest of his wife, Draupadi. In his quest, he chances upon Hanuman who decides to test Bhima and quell his pride in his prodigious strength. Taking the form of a weak, aged monkey, he blocks Bhima’s path, stating that he is too feeble to stir, and that Bhima should move his tail aside, if he wishes to proceed. After Bhima’s efforts prove futile, Hanuman reveals his identity as well as the gigantic form he assumed when crossing the ocean to Lanka. When Bhima falls senseless at the sight, Hanuman revives and blesses him, promising to grace Arjuna’s flag in the forthcoming war. He also directs him to Kubera’s garden from which the flowers can be gathered. The veteran Kottakal Chandrashekaran, known for his portray of the virtuous pachcha roles, had the audience rivetted with his graceful performance as Bhima. Sadanam Bhasi, who played Hanuman, awed the audience with his litheness and engaging demeanour.
With the night still young, the audience were then treated to some expressive sitar music by Pandit Nayan Ghosh. Accompanied by Shri Ravindra Yavagal on the table, Pandit Ghosh’s performance was a treat for Hindustani music lovers.
The closing act for this edition of Yamini was the Carnatic vocal performance by the Ramon Magsaysay Awardee T.M. Krishna. Known for his urge to explore nuances of raagas and not following the traditional Carnatic concert format, TM Krishna was a delight as he treated each composition he delivered with impeccable purity of raagas. There was also the added novelty that he performed without a mridangam, considered so essential to a Carnatic concert. His rendition of Purandaradasa’s “Vittala Salaho Swami” set in Desh raaga was particularly mesmerizing. He engaged the audience and even took requests from the crowd. The sun had risen, and it was time to for the long night to end and he did that splendidly with the Dwijendrageeti, “Amar Jonma Bhumi”. A touching rendition, it left the audience spell bound, proving a fitting finale to the concert.