Reflection of Nandini Ramani: The second edition of Antharangam
The second edition of Antharangam – ‘Conversation with Performing Artistes’ had SNA Awardee Nandini Ramani in discussion with Dr Anupama Kylash followed by an engrossing presentation on ‘Varnam: Mother of Manodharma’…
The second edition of Antharangam – 'Conversation with Performing Artistes' had SNA Awardee Nandini Ramani in discussion with Dr Anupama Kylash followed by an engrossing presentation on 'Varnam: Mother of Manodharma'…
Nandini Ramani is the daughter of legendary artiste Padmashree V Raghavan and has been training since the age of five. She is the torchbearer of 'Bala' tradition as she carries on the celebrated Bharatanatyam dancer Guru late Balasaraswati's 'bani' both as a teacher and a performer. She has trained in Carnatic music for over four decades and has a keen interest in Sanskrit theatre, following the footsteps of her father, a Sanskrit scholar. She also worked as a dance correspondent and critic.
"Bhay bhakti," Nandini says, "started since the time I was in the cradle. I was acting in my father's Sanskrit plays since I was 9, and I was exposed to music, dance and theatre. By the time I was in my early teens I realised that I belong to some great lineage that I have to carry forward. I could never emulate my Gurus as they were such tall and towering personalities, so, I imbibed their values and discipline, which I never tarnished."
Answering Dr Kylash's question on how the concept of Abhinaya is becoming predominant with the body taking precedence, and if it is a positive or negative trend?" Nandini goes back to her experiences as a student. She says, "I don't know how to explain these things; terms like body concept are new to me. I don't want to be called an academic as everyone calls themselves that just by starting to study about anything in the related field. I would say, the first experience the joy of performing, That's what Bala also felt; There was no making notes or recording and everything was done orally during the class and we had to remember, practice and reproduce, and the training was rigorous"
She adds, "Anyone at any age can read the puranas; they should have patience and learn the practices and take guidance from the experts. The limitations of time, space, audience were all there at all times. Balamma would check out the audience and the guests and their seating before commencing her performance. Sticking to tradition, understanding the technique, practice and knowing puranas are crucial for a dancer, and there is no shortcut to excellence on stage."
She said, 'Old is Gold', and one cannot compromise on the dance form in the name of experimentation. She also emphasised on the importance of the dancer being musically alive. "No dramatisation is required when you have musical knowledge," she stated
A traditionalist, Dr Nandini Ramani is brutally frank as she lays bare the deficiencies in the dancers and the new age concepts of dance which she says lacks in the true understanding of the form. Her wit, compassion, patience, knowledge, that make her a great teacher were all on display during her presentation as a part of 'Antharangam held at 'Our Sacred Space.'
- Hans Features