The Pada Varnam Project


The Pada Varnam Project of Chennai based scholar-writer Sujatha Vijayaraghavan on the 'Varnam on Vinayaka', composed by T. V. Gopalakrishnan and choreographed by the Dhananjayans, will be screened on April 25 at 6.05 pm under the auspices of Natyarangam, Narada Gana Sabha at the mini hall.


The first part of the film is the discussion between the composer and the choreographers about their interaction and the salient features of the varnam.

This is the first pada varnam on Vinayaka to be performed in Bharata Natyam. It was a welcome addition to the repertoire as it could be performed by male dancers and could also be taught in a simpler version to young children.

The second part of the film features the varnam performed by V. P. Dhananjayan and Satyajit Dhananjayan, with Shantha Dhananjayan on nattuvangam. Aravindakshan has sung the varnam with Ramesh Babu on the mridangam.

The interview and commentary are by Sujatha Vijayaraghavan.

The project on Tamil pada varnams was undertaken by Sujatha to document the composer’s concept and the choreographer’s vision of a pada varnam.

The musical, lyrical and rhythmic excellence of the varnam and the scope it offered for imaginative choreography in nritta and abhinaya are analysed.

Some of the other composers covered in the project are the Thanjavur Quartet, Papanasam Sivan, K. N. Dandayuthapani Pillai and Andavan Pichai.

Some of the dancers and gurus featured in this series are Srividya (daughter of MLV), Nirmala Ramachandran, Kumbakonam Bhanumathi and her grand daughter Anbukkarasi Maran, Bragha Bessel, 'Adyar' Lakshmanan and Kalanidhi Narayanan.

Sujatha plans to give the visual and audio recordings for archival purposes.

Sujatha photo: courtesy Lokvani.com