It was a typical commercial potboiler from T M Krishna for the “pazhutha” Nanganallur rasikas at the Sri Thyagaraja Sangeetha Samajam. The whole evening was dedicated to saint-poet Tyagaraja with some of his very special compositions sung the “T M Krishna” way.
He started off with ‘Upacharamulanu’ in Bhairavi, and it did seem that he had come well-prepared to Nanganallur, but then there was a subdued ‘Tulyasamma’ in Devagandhaari which was rendered aesthetically, traversing through the beauty of the raga.
Then came ‘Chede Buddhi Maanura’ (Oh mind, give up crooked ideas), in Atana, which was well-directed at the audience who were screaming from every corner to sing a raga of their choice. The poor sabha secretary had to intervene and calm things down.
‘Naajee Vadhara’ in Bilahari was presented next. The kriti is supposed to be one of the complete compositions of the saint and ranks alongside ‘Chakkaniraja’, ‘O Ranga Sayee’ in terms of solidity. The raga alapana was brief but the way he rendered the kriti was special. He followed it with some pacy kalpana swaras, devoid of any “kanakku” but with some stunning “thaattu varisais”, and it did take everybody by storm. One could see from the dais people dancing literally and it was fun watching them all.
Then there was another RT (“P” conspicuously absent) in Kaapi which was breezy. He stamped his class with his control while singing the upper octaves, and his sancharams in upper panchamam and nishadham were mind-blowing. Thanam contained some very catchy gamakas.
Violinist Vittal Ramamurthy did a fantastic job. After all, Kaapi is a raga tailor-made for violinists to showcase their creativity and he did not leave anyone disappointed. Pallavi followed and was not complete (maybe due to time constraints) and the thani by J Balaji and Anerudh Athreya was short and brisk.
He signed off with ‘Alakalella’ in Madhyamaavathi and ‘Geetharthamu’ in Surutti.
On the whole, the atmosphere was electric due to the passionate and knowledgeable crowd. No one left the hall during the thani and Krishna did make it a memorable evening. On the flip side, there could have been some more elaborate raga alapana, a complete Pallavi and another chouka kalam kriti, which would have made the performance even more enjoyable.