Poke around a digital music service for a popular song and you’re likely to find more than a few “tributes” to it—cover versions, especially. In the digital age, piggybacking on covers has been a popular way of introducing yourself to the world. It has become the musical equivalent of search-engine optimisation. Barring some criticism for offering ‘nothing new,’ cover versions of songs are the big thing on video and audio sharing platforms at the moment. But bringing a twist in the tale, classical dancer Anjali Hari is producing cover dance versions of popular songs.
Anjali is most notable for her dance cover version of last year’s hit number Jeevamshamayi, from Theevandi. The song has been a hit on YouTube which amassed over 51 million views on the video streaming platform alone. And it really helped Anjali as people who searched the song also watched her dance cover, and Kailas Menon, composer of the song, was one of them. Now, she is back with the cover dance video of the song Nee Hima Mazhayayi Varu from Edakkadu Battalion 06, which interestingly features the same duo of Tovino Thomas and Samyuktha Menon from Theevandi movie. Kottayam-based Anjali says she is overwhelmed with the positive responses she is getting since the release of her cover. “It was a thrilling experience to get such a massive support for my efforts. Though we are familiar with vocal cover versions, dance covers are not so common. And among the very few dance covers, most are contemporary dance versions of popular film or album songs. And my version was in Bharatanatyam and it went viral in no time,” says Anjali, who runs a dance school called Kalakalari in Kottayam and Kochi.
Anjali says since her first video amassed a lot of viewers, while doing the new cover, there was an added responsibility of meeting the expectations of people. “It was the challenging part. Since the first video had a lot of viewers and got so many positive feedbacks, I wanted to make the next one even better and was adamant not to give any room for error. In both the videos I was trying to adapt the lyrical quality of each and visualising it with mudras. It is a difficult task as you cannot ruin the beauty of the song with wrongly chosen mudras and bhavas.”
She is teaching almost 800 students at two branches of Kala kalari in Kochi and Kottayam and says the art is gaining more and more acceptance than the past.
A disciple of Dr. Padma Subrahmaniam and guru Manu, she is also pursuing MFA from Chennai....