Sunday, 5 February 2012

Articles - 'Janalamini' - GS Rajan

The choreography and powerful presentations of Malavika Sarukkai, Priyadarsini Govind and Rama Vaidyanathan have influenced many dancers of the new generation. Some also follow the new entrant to top category, Mythili Prakash, closely. However it was interesting to note that some of these new generation dancers have finally come out from their shells with a fresh individual approach and with their own choreography, which in turn has brought them recognition. Though there are many highly talented, hardworking and creative dancers ready to carry forward the responsibility from the current divas, I took notice of four serious, dedicated and thinking dancers. They are Janaki Rangarajan, Navia Menon, Lavanya Ananth and the firebrand Rukmini Vijayakumar. Thus, I have come out with a new short form – Janalamini – made up of their four names. I hope to see these four dancers conquering the Bharatanatyam dance scene from now on.

Read the article in the site

15 comments:

  1. Vijaya Gunasekharan9 February 2012 at 22:08

    "Strangely most of these most promising Bharatanatyam dancers all have associations with USA" is what the author wrote in "Season times" on January 13, 2011, and he keeps harping on the same lines again and again.

    Do you understand how and why GS Rajan could take notice of only "four serious, dedicated and thinking dancers" who all four have connection with USA? Do "some stand out" because GS Rajan spends a lot of time touring in the west and playing for those same dancers (or their friends) who he then tries to write about, hoping to get more accompanying invitations? While I concede that the flutist may know something about playing the flute, what qualifies him a Bharatanatyam critic? Nothing.

    How is being "popular in the West and dancing on most prestigious platforms across the world" related to the "divinity one experiences"? Was it their search for divinity that brought them that "connection with USA"?
    "The madness", yes, but any claims on divinity need to be taken with a pinch of salt. One look at the Bharatanatyam videos on YouTube will prove that today "prestigious" is not the same as "popular".

    Janaki Rangarajan is perhaps the only one among the four who had the most extensive training in the dance form that bears some resemblance to the divine dance. But her performances of many karanas were far from perfect at her best and certainly lack the "outstanding flexibility in her body movements". (From his comments, it is clear that GS Rajan has never watched any good rhythmic gymnasts or acro dancers). Is it to improve this that Janaki Rangarajan moved to the US? Or for some other reason? As for choreographing them, has she ever managed to understand how to link the karanas?

    Rukmini has not featured in Chennai’s season shows? Well, Rukmini Vijayakumar became famous exactly in the same way Shobana did: by acting in movies. Fine, she showed that she could do a bit of splits, lifting her legs a bit (still there are some young dancers who do it far better but lack her connections in the film industry so GS Rajan didn't hear about them). Rukmini's face is one of her strong points that made her a career in modelling (something that that many dancers like Lavanya Ananth unfortunately cannot even dream about).

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    1. Thank you Vijaya Gunasekharan for your comments.

      Reading these objections I realise that you have missed the point of my writing at all. Art for me, whether I write about it or play the flute, or compose music, is just my life. It is something I consider a blessing. I am not writing for money or for some 'ulterior' motives. The articles I post on the Net or which have been published by Narthaki are expressions of my personal opinion and feelings about Indian arts. Nothing I write is motivated by any malafide intention. But of course I realise that anyone who does not share this view of life and the arts cannot automatically understand my approach and could easily think that since the world is as much full of jealousy, cut-throat ambition and negativity as of beauty and peace, my writing too might be powered by such emotions. Therefore, let me try to explain the following:

      1. I do not need to write to get more invitations to accompany. You might notice that I do not much play the flute for dance. I have played flute and composed music for veteran Yamini Krishnamurti right from a young age and for the last ten years I have only played for Rama Vaidyanathan because I composed music for her. Recently I played for Ajith Dass, again because I composed music for the repertoire he presented in Chennai. I have never accompanied the four dancers I have mentioned so far, nor have composed music for them. Ms. Vijaya's comment """GS Rajan spends a lot of time touring in the west and playing for those same dancers (or their friends) who he then tries to write about, hoping to get more accompanying invitations?""" is totally baseless and made without checking facts.

      2. Ms. Vijaya comments about me being a dance critic. Well, I was asked to write and was trained by the great Subbudu and I wrote for him in his column for five years in Delhi's edition of The Statesman. I stopped writing in between because I thought I should not write about people whom I am friendly with or have worked with. I have also worked as the Music Critic of The Hindu. Yes, I am NOT a dancer but I grew up in Kalakshetra where Rukmini Devi herself appreciated my critical suggestions. My experience working with veteran arts administrators Rukmini Devi Arundale, Dr. V.K. Narayana Menon, P.V. Krishnamurthy, Keshav Kothari and others while I was at the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, popularly known as Sangeet Natak Akademi' (where I worked for almost 14 years and was Deputy Secretary), has opened up my mind to look at and point out perfection and quality in arts in regard to many factors, including technical, music, presentation, decor, costumes, involvement, dedication, etc.

      3. Ms. Vijaya may please note that (over the years) a dancer gets a chance to perform in India only through friends, making friends with people in authority etc. Perhaps outstandingly talented ones need not do that. But how can one bring 'divinity' when a dancer is totally immersed in PR activities? My pointing out 'divinity' was because I felt it in that particular show. I am not asking others to agree with me. That was my personal comment and I do have the freedom to say what I have felt according to the constitution of India. Of course there are lots of dancers who too may achieve in their performances the feeling of divinity, but I was writing in the present context about dancers I saw, never saying no one else can do it! As for dancers living in the U.S., very true, it was probably a search for material prosperity and not divinity that took them to the land of plenty. But once there, an Indian dancer often takes a closer look at the philosophy of Indian arts and realises that prosperity is not the same as inner peace. If they do, it is their luck only, that's all I can say, and again I don't say it can't happen in India!

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    2. 4. Approval from the dedicated rasikas of the West has always played an important role in the career of Indian classical artists starting from Uday Shankar, Ram Gopal, Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan and innumerable others. Whether that is a good thing or not, well, that is another debate!

      5. Ms. Vijaya watching Bharata Natyam videos in YouTube makes clear her outlook on quality in arts. Indian arts cannot be judged from videos, nor by learning from videos.

      6. I am not sure why it would be necessary to compare a Bharatanatyam performance with one by "good rhythmic gymnasts or acro dancers"...???

      7. Ms. Vijaya's comment on Janaki linking Karanas: I look at a performance in 'totality' and NOT from one particular aspect. A good creative person will always have something new to add to his or her concert every time. They improve upon themselves after each stage. I look at the individuality. If Ms. Vijaya writes an article on 'Linking Karanas' and educates many individuals like me, it would be welcome.

      8. Talking about Rukmini. I have not met her or interacted with her so far. Only have watched her shows and enjoyed them. I do not want to know whether she has become famous because she acted in films or modeled. I was commenting on the effect of the particular performances I saw.

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  2. I very much agree with the above comments. Fusion is very much apparent in Rukmini's dance and while she is in great form, her dance is soul less and lacks classisism. Possibly, a very talented artiste has been diatracted by the need for quick fame. Not sure either that she is popular in the west or known in its prestigious platforms. Janaki and Lavanya have a better chance of being good dancers of the future

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  3. I wanted to suggest that GS Rajan should come and play the flute for Bharatanatyam dancers in Trichy and write about them. Everybody knows that the most prestigeous venues are in Trichy only. The top rank serious, dedicated and thinking dancers who stand out are all from the Trichy area and a few from Coimbatore. The dancers that he mentioned are not known to us.

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  4. @Vijaya:

    Re: divinity

    You overlooked http://narthaki.com/info/rev12/rev1179.html :

    GS Rajan writes that he saw that Goddess Meenakshi showered her grace upon Navtej Johar and revealed the divine mystery to him.

    I humbly request GS Rajan to explain how he saw it, what exactly he saw, at what point. I also want to see it. Regarding "audience crying and requesting for more", I also saw it often at cinema when actor Vijay was featured in movies (my niece is believing that Vijay is an incarnation of Lord Rama), but I like Rajinikanth more.

    I also request Navtej Johar to describe what divine mystery to him by Goddess Meenakshi - if she indeed did it. It is a very important milestone and has to be documented for the history of Bharatanatyam.

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  5. I don't see the point of constructing seemingly clever acronyms like RAMP and JANALAMINI. All this does is exclude the many other excellent dancers out there who also deserve recognition.

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  6. 2. Ms. Vijaya comments about me being a dance critic. Well, I was asked to write and was trained by the great Subbudu and I wrote for him in his column for five years in Delhi's edition of The Statesman. I stopped writing in between because I thought I should not write about people whom I am friendly with or have worked with. I have also worked as the Music Critic of The Hindu. Yes, I am NOT a dancer but I grew up in Kalakshetra where Rukmini Devi herself appreciated my critical suggestions. My experience working with veteran arts administrators Rukmini Devi Arundale, Dr. V.K. Narayana Menon, P.V. Krishnamurthy, Keshav Kothari and others while I was at the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, popularly known as Sangeet Natak Akademi' (where I worked for almost 14 years and was Deputy Secretary), has opened up my mind to look at and point out perfection and quality in arts in regard to many factors, including technical, music, presentation, decor, costumes, involvement, dedication, etc.

    3. Ms. Vijaya may please note that (over the years) a dancer gets a chance to perform in India only through friends, making friends with people in authority etc. Perhaps outstandingly talented ones need not do that. But how can one bring 'divinity' when a dancer is totally immersed in PR activities? My pointing out 'divinity' was because I felt it in that particular show. I am not asking others to agree with me. That was my personal comment and I do have the freedom to say what I have felt according to the constitution of India. Of course there are lots of dancers who too may achieve in their performances the feeling of divinity, but I was writing in the present context about dancers I saw, never saying no one else can do it! As for dancers living in the U.S., very true, it was probably a search for material prosperity and not divinity that took them to the land of plenty. But once there, an Indian dancer often takes a closer look at the philosophy of Indian arts and realises that prosperity is not the same as inner peace. If they do, it is their luck only, that's all I can say, and again I don't say it can't happen in India!

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  7. 8. Talking about Rukmini. I have not met her or interacted with her so far. Only have watched her shows and enjoyed them. I do not want to know whether she has become famous because she acted in films or modeled. I was commenting on the effect of the particular performances I saw.

    9. As for some dancers having faces fit for modelling while others "cannot even dream about" it, I am surprised to hear such a strange, purely physical comment on a Bharatanatyam dancer. This is a dance that, although a physical activity, attempts to rise beyond the physical. And Ms. Vijaya brings in the concept of a model's face!

    In conclusion, I suggest Ms. Vijaya may please open her mind and start looking at arts writing from a broader view and not only from the point of view of how karanas are combined. While such technical aspects are very, very important for the health of the field, it is just as important not to spread disinformation and distrust by making false allegations about people.

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  8. sir, thank you for your response, but we see only 8. and 9., kindly provide points 1-7.

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    1. Visit
      http://www.narthaki.com/info/articles/art316.html#gsr for the complete comment by G.S.Rajan's posting dated Feb 14, 2012 02.37AM

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  9. Constructing acronyms is really a very foolish exercise, a pastime suitable for children or those who watch 10-15 Bharatanatyam recitals a year. That too, mainly in Delhi. Late Subbudu used to say, "To live in the Capital is a capital punishment!"

    Since G.S.Rajan was working as Deputy Secretary at SNA who are famous for giving more titles to Puppetry persons than to Bharatanatyam dancers, and who awarded Sucheta Chapekar and C. K. Balagopalan the same title as Alarmel Valli, may I ask why he didn't try forming acronyms from the awardee list? Let me help: CheGoMel. Sounds good, doesn't it?

    I once overheard Alarmel Valli laughing at the very suggestion of clubbing her together with Priyadarsini Govind, and saying something unpublishable. Clubbing Navia Menon alongside with Janaki Rangarajan is ridiculous and shows that the "critic" had been hopelessly indoctrinated in the Kalakshetra-style western mindset (hence his conviction that "the West has always played an important role in the career of Indian classical artists") and only visits Chennai for a week or two in a year.

    This said, I would love to read about which of his critical suggestions were appreciated by Rukmini Devi , and how G.S.Rajan was "trained by the great Subbudu". Was that the training in English grammar??? Was G.S.Rajan writing about MUSIC or about DANCE in The Statesman? In the DELHI edition, how many Bharatanatyam dancers from the South did he review over those 5 years?

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  10. Hello Niranjana... Do your home work first. Contact The Statesman and ask them about the number of reviews on dance and music I have written. Ask Subbudu's family in regard to 'training' and association I had with him. Everyone may have their own opinion and I appreciated your opinion as well. That doesn't mean that I have no right to say what I feel.

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  11. This dancer also has connections with US and she teaches the poor kids Bollywood dances and adorns the so called prestigious stages of Chennai with her "vibrant" Mohiniyattam. What do you people have to say about this. She is also a disciple of Padmasri Kanak Rele and she says she is presently training in Bharathanatyam under the guidance of the maestro Dhananjayan master. Watch these links on you tube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVDdSh4SOzs


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aRIff5QN9k

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_KTZdMEuwQ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_wbW25aVOY


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PIUZSp7r-A

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJlF823xOp8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aRIff5QN9k

    Watch her interview on the below link

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5i8DDKQe08

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttapCaScdmQ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2k5j4bfVFg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=vHTjnmfQvwo

    http://video.webindia123.com/new/interviews/dancers/mohiniyattam/sunandanair/...

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