PANDANALLUR BANI, A DELECTABLE BLEND OF TRADITION, MUSICALITY, AESTHETICS AND ANTIQUITY
Keywords:Bharatanatyam, Pandanallur, Bani, Tanjore, Tanjore Quartet, Meenakshisundaram Pillai
This article is about the Pandanallur bani of Bharatanatyam. In a world where old and authentic banis are fast fading, the Pandanallur bani sparkles as a gem in the firmament of Bharatanatyam even to this day. Nurtured with painstaking devotion by the great masters including Pandanallur Meenakshisundaram Pillai and others, this bani has produced many dancing stars including several senior practitioners of today. Embellished with pristine musical values and extremely clean nrtta aesthetics, the Pandanallur bani has brought name and fame to the small village that is its source. Shorn of any manner of jazzy gimmicks, this austere bani is a reminder of Bharatanatyam as imagined by the great masters - simple, classy and subtle. Characterised by an old world charm that is typical of vintage Bharatanatyam, the Pandanallur bani is at once challenging for the dancer, yet gentle on the eye. It is a natyadharmi based style with steadfast devotion to tradition and antiquity. The proximity of Pandanallur to Tanjore may have ensured that the Pandanallur Bani in many ways reflects the values and aesthetics that the Tanjore quartet stood for. The architects of the Pandanallur bani eschewed anything that was loud. Instead, they chose to keep the style mellow, subtle, tasteful, delicate and pleasing. In the recent past, they also swiftly moulded the repertoire, presentation, techniques in order to keep with the changing times, thus ensuring that the Pandanallur bani has stood the test of time and has been passed down even to the most recent of generations with no loss of values or aesthetics.
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