Melattur S. Natarajan enriched the artwork type together with his artistry and refinements
The passing away of Melattur S. Natarajan, who put the small city of Melattur, close to Thanjavur, on the worldwide cultural map, has created a void that’s exhausting to be crammed.
He was a torchbearer of the Bhagavata Mela sampradaya, a ritualistic theatre type carried out solely by male members of the Bhagavata households.
The natakams are staged within the precincts of the Sri Narasimha temple in Melattur and its 4 adjoining villages throughout Sri Narasimha Jayanti within the month of Vaisakha.
Natarajan, who headed the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Bhagavata Mela Natya Nataka Sangam, imbibed the artwork from his father Swaminatha Iyer and different senior artistes.
Natarajan was 5 when he started appearing within the performs and he quickly turned probably the most refined exponents of the artwork type. I’ve visited Melattur to witness the annual Bhagavata Mela pageant for a decade. Throughout these visits, Natarajan and I revived our decades-old household connection.
An engineer by career, he strived exhausting not solely to show himself a worthy heir of his household legacy but additionally enriched the artwork type by staging 10 of Melattur Venkatarama Sastry’s 12 natakams.
Throughout his 70-year profession, Natarajan lent a refreshing contact to sure facets of the Bhagavata Mela approach. In his early days, Natarajan additionally labored with the celebrated natyacharya, Okay.P. Kittappa Pillai. In a dialog with this author, Kittappa Pillai as soon as mentioned that the ‘Melattur jatis’ that he had composed for Bhagavata Mela natakams had been learnt by Natarajan “with nice involvement”.
An achieved actor, he was identified for his enactment of feminine roles akin to Leelavati in ‘Prahlada Charitam’ and Chandramati in ‘Harishchandra’. His beautiful abhinaya conveyed the nuances of those characters. In his portrayal, one may see the exploration of Natyadharmi and the four-fold facets of natya.
A recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi award and the Tamil Nadu authorities’s Kalaimamani award, Natarajan not solely popularised this historic artwork type but additionally groomed enthusiastic children.
Although Bhagavata Mela has misplaced one in every of its finest artistes, the play should go on.
The author is a veteran
dancer and scholar.