Natyarangam revives a rare opera on Krishna

Anantha Bharati’s Sri Bhagavata Kirtanai – Dashama Skandam to be presented as a Bharatanatyam performance

Anant Bharti Shree Bhagwat Kirtanai – Dashma Skandam Bharatanatyam performance will be presented as

It was in the early 90s when Kalyanpuram Aravmudachari was rendering Srimad Bhagavatam Dashma Skandam That I first heard the name of Anant Bharati and his kirtanis on Krishna. My search began for a book of kirtanis, which I thought would be a worthy addition to the Bharatanatyam repertoire.

After a brief search, I found two volumes of the book in the Sangeet Akademi library. These volumes, which were part of Amber Vijayaraghavacharya’s collection, were donated to the Academy.

The preface to the book outlines the life of Anant Bharati. He was a contemporary of Trinity and was born in Umayalapuram in 1785. He started composing at the age of 13.

He composed the drama Uttara Ramayanam, as a sequel to Arunachala Kavi’s Ram Natakam. Unfortunately, it is not detectable.

Anantha Bharati composed his great work, the Tamil translation of which Srimad Bhagavatam Dashma Skandam, in two parts. like a blanket Ramayanam and the Arunachal poet Rama dramatistAnant Bharti Shri Bhagwat Kirtanai Arangatram was also there in the Srirangam temple. He died in 1845.

There were two manuscripts of this gigantic work and their script was printed in January 1877 at the Kalavi Vilakka Press of Pu. Mother Chennai’s Sabpati Mudaliar.

In the introductory verses, Anantha Bharati mentions the total number of songs in the first part as 998, which also includes Venba, Kalithogai, Dharu Kirtanai and a Varnam and Swarajathi. The story is mostly in the form of dialogues, monologues, interspersed with details in Virutham. The language used is reminiscent of Rama Natakam, a combination of poetic, conversational and colloquial styles. There is a sprinkling of Sanskrit and archaic words.

Along with the customary raga Saurashram, a variety of ragas have been employed, including Thodi, Sankarabharanam, Kamboji, Kalyani, Nattai, Saveri, Madhyamavati, Yamuna Kalyani and Manji. And locks like Adi, Roopkam, Chapu and Jhampa are often used.

While the format is that of isai natakam (opera), the songs are particularly suitable for harikatha and discourses.

Natyarangam, the dance wing of Narada Gana Sabha, has taken up the task of reviving the work, excerpts of which will be premiered in a dance drama format on October 2 at 6.30 pm at NGS. Set to music by RK Sriramkumar and choreographed by Shashirekha Rammohan, it is performed by Dr. S. In memory of Ramanathan.

The Chennai-based writer is a musician and bilingual writer.