One among my most vivid recollections of Indra Rajam is of her feisty spirit and her vibrant nattuvangam on the Vienna Worldwide Competition, the place I carried out in 1982. The venue was a powerful, historic — and consequently, unheated — church. The marble altar ground on which I used to be dancing and on which the musicians had been seated, regardless of a carpet, was teeth-rattlingly chilly. However Indramma, impressed by the rapturous viewers and seemingly impervious to the truth that we had been chilled to the bone, offered spirited, joyous nattuvangam. This dedication and enthusiasm, even within the face of odds, characterised her work over the 5 years or so, throughout which she did nattuvangam for me whereas I toured the nation and overseas.
I first met Indra Rajan in 1981. My guru, Pandanallur Subbaraya Pillai, after a very lengthy and exhausting tour of Italy had instructed to my mom that given my more and more busy schedule, it might be smart to search out somebody youthful, who may study my repertoire and journey with me.
| Photograph Credit score: The Hindu Archives
Indra Rajan, even then, had a formidable repute for her grasp of rhythmic intricacies and the ability and readability with which she rendered the solkattu. My mom and I had additionally heard she may very well be considerably troublesome to take care of. Nevertheless it was a pleasure working along with her. She was a perfectionist, completely dedicated to giving her greatest. She had a naughty sense of humour and I’ve heat recollections of Indramma’s husky voice and ringing giggle as she savoured some anecdotes recounted by my mom.
In nowadays of strictly rationed rehearsal time with musicians, I look again with nostalgia at an artiste like Indra Rajan, who regardless of her huge expertise, was eager on umpteen follow classes and lengthy hours of rehearsal.
Throughout these classes, she by no means spared herself. If she had even the least doubt about any rhythmic sequence I had choreographed, she would instantly request me, “May you please repeat that section? I have to good it.” This refusal to take the dance with no consideration, her insistence on internalising the teermanams and on honing her personal efficiency had been actually admirable.
Her palpable pleasure in rhythm and music discovered expression in what grew to become her hallmark type of nattuvangam — expressive, cadenced and dynamic. When she wielded the cymbals in a efficiency, one may very well be absolutely assured that the laya can be measured and loyal, with out the least acceleration of tempo.
Indra Rajan’s putting recital of the solkattus nonetheless rings in my ears. She belonged to a singular technology of conventional artistes that’s sadly passing and the dance world is poorer with out her. I’ll miss her — this passionate artiste and robust, unbiased lady, who had the braveness to stay life on her phrases.
The author is a widely known Bharatanatyam dancer.