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Donning Mira, Bombay Jayashri sends
audience into trance
It was a lovely Friday evening (August 13, 2010). The venue was the venerable Music Academy. The theme of the programme was ``Bhaire Baanvari’’. With writer-cum-musician Gowri Ramnarayan donning the role of the presenter, Bombay Jayashri led a set of highly talented artistes to re-tell the life story of Saint Poet Mira, the Rajasthani princess, yet once more. They together held the audience awe-struck for the next two hour. It was a travel back in time for the assembled audience into the history for a discovery of Mira. This time around, the Mira story was retold to raise funds for `Penn Nalam’, a unit of Sri Dhanvantri Trust.

Gowri made the audience ecstatic by her fabulous narration of Poet Mirabai’s life history. As she narrated anecdote after anecdote of the Rajasthani princess in a gripping manner, Jayashri brought Mira the character alive with her involved singing. The curtain opened to Mira’s “More to Giridhara Gopala” by Jayashri. It was a cohesive effort. “Chakar Rakho Ji” was so very beautiful to listen. Mira was pleading for a role – even that of a servant – to be in the vicinity of the Lord. With her melting voice and expressive face, Jayashri left the listeners with moist eyes. Gowri Ramnarayan deserves wholesome praise for having taught the entire team the songs of Mira. She had learnt these rare songs from different gurus. Bombay Jayashri was devotion-personified as she merged herself completely into the character Mira and guided the entire audience to dizzy heights. Mira’s love for Lord Krishna was portrayed expressively as the team sang “Hori Kelath Hi Girdhari” with `colours of joy’ at the background. The Vrindavan of Mira was sketched out beautifully by Jayashri as she rendered “Julath Radhe Sang Giridhari”. It is a lovely song. With decorative sargams, the song is full of vibrancy. It is said that Radha and Krishna meet each night at Nidhi Van in Vridavan. Pilgrims visit this place in the day time only. It is like a grove and an abode for Krishna and Radhika. You can find bangles and sindhoor. Nobody is allowed to stay in the night at this place.

Mira on one occasion dreams of marrying Krishn. Through “Mai Mane Supana Mam Paranyam dinanatha” Jayashri brought out the immense happiness experienced by Mira in her dream marriage with Krishn. In reality, Mira, however, was married to Rana Kumbha. She was married to him against her wish though. Mira was unable to bear this. She was also further instructed by her mother-in-law to worship Goddess Durga in line with the custom of the Rajasthani race. In her teens only then, Mira stubbornly refused to obey the diktat of her mother-in –law. Mira said she had no intention of worshipping any God other than Lord Krishn. Jayashri brought out the `recalcitrant’ Mira as she rendered “Mana Guru Govind”. Mira had to endure never-ending troubles from her sister-in-law and husband Rana. Rana once sent her a cup of poison and a bed of nails. This is one of the most impacting songs perhaps, as Jayashri sang the line “Vish ka Pyala Rana Ji ne Beja” in the song Paga Gungroo Bandh Mira Nachi re”. The line “Loga Kahe Mira Bhaire Baanvari” was a telling commentary of the way the people perceived Mira.

In the wake of constant invasions by the Moguls those days, sati was a very common practice among the Rajastani women. To escape the invaders, these women joined their husbands in their funeral pyre. Mira however refused to do the same when her husband died. For Mira, Giridhari was her husband. Mira always believed that her husband Giridhari was alive. Why commit sati then? So she reasoned. Soon enough, she left to Vrindavan in search of Krishn. As she struggled her way through on the Rajasthan sands, everything seemed an illusion for her. Will Krishn ever come to her? Jayashri brought out the melancholy in Mira through “Darasa Bina”. Mira’s eyes constantly searched for her Krishn. Suddenly her troubles came to an end as she heard cowherds singing Krishn’s name at Vrindavan. Mira met Rupagoswamin at Vrindavan and went with him to Dwaraka. Here the doors of the Dwarakadish temple were closed. Mira cried asking the Lord “Mat Jao Jogi”. Jayashri brought the pain in Mira as she rendered this song. Mira asked Krishn to burn her into ashes and smear her into his limbs. After a while, the doors of the Dwarajadish temple opened and Mira became one with Lord Krishn. Such sufferings are inevitable in this world. Mira once sought the advice of Tulasidas, who asked her to abandon those who did not sing the praise of Ram or Shyam. History is replete with instances of bhakti where devotees make huge sacrifices, including the closest of the relatives. “Deko re Bala Jogi” is a conversational song between Lord Shiva and Yeshoda. Here Shiva comes to see child Krishn in the disguise of a Jogi. “More Aangan me Murali Bajaore” was finely rendered by Jayashri. The universal peace song “Hari Tum Haro”, made popular by late M.S. Subbulakshmi, was sung by Jayashri with intensive devotion, bringing the curtain down on such a lovely evening.

The accompanying vocalists Amirtha Murali, Kedar Karat, S. Sabesh, Rahul K. Raveendran, Chaitrra Sairam, Keerthana V. Nath and Poornima Sathish excelled in group singing. On many occasions, individually too they made a mark. Senior violinist Embar Kannan, star flautist Naveen Nair, talented Sai Shravanam (tabala) and resourceful Jeyacha (side percussion) combined well to make the concert a grand one. Gowri deserves kudos for presenting such a well-rehearsed and perfectly blended live concert, re-creating Mira the cultural icon of India.

Read also:

Bombay Jayashri resurrects Mira in `Bhaire Baanvari’
Shanthi Kannan -
One of the well written articles. It beautifully describes the musical melody of Bombay Jayashri. An in-depth analysis.

Madhana Raghavan -
Looks like it was an amazing show! The pictures are awesome, too!

Magline Rufina -
Very intense piece on music, history and people. Loved reading it!

Nandini Sivakumar -
Even though it was a performance of the same show put up some time ago, the way it has been written both times is different because it is a different experience each time. The reviews - the one on last show and the one now on the latest - seem to me to be like Valmiki's and Tulasidas's way of interpreting the Ramayana. I thought the review of the Mira programme a few months ago evoked a sense of bhakti that is apparent in Tulasidas's Ramayana. The experience of reading the latest review was more straight and sublime. Enjoyed reading both. Hope I manage to catch the show next time they perform!

Sadagopan -
Wow what a write up! What a language for Smt Jayashri. And, what a band of color photos! Everything is superb.
Hats off to the effective photos, the setting comes before me. I found Shri Embar Kannan's name among the artistes. I feel he is one of the most creative artistes among the younger band we have.

Thyagarajan -
Good to know about Bombay Jayashri's concert on Mira. Saw the photos. I would like to know whether I can get the CD of the programme. Is DVD available? I have gone through the article about the programme more than 3 times. You have described each and every song she and her team performed. My best wishes to Bombay Jayashri.

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