Bragha Bessel’s expert presentation of Padams and Javalis at Krishna Gana Sabha shone with the potent power of the multi-coloured sentiments in life to evoke the ultimate goal - rasa. She is a faculty member at Kalakshetra and is a disciple of Adyar K. Lakshman and Kalanidhi Narayanan and is acknowledged for her proficiency in abhinaya.
Be it childish outbursts or amorous eye language or a self-assured walk - Bragha‘s confident facsimile of three different nayikas needed no explanation to comprehend that the first one was a foolish young girl, the next a slightly mature one and the last a worldly wise lady. In just a few renditions of the lines, ‘Nanne Pendladu’ in ragamaalika her mannerisms established the demands made by each heroine much to the rasikas’ amusement.
Earlier the lilting tunes of Pushpanjali in Malayamarutham composed by Hariprasad and choreographed by Nideesh Kumar served as regal preparation for the Dasavataram. Jayadeva’s verses were interpreted by the dancer to paint different emotions within each avatar. Valour, compassion and love were just a few of them that were quickly outlined by the dancer for the introductory number.
One of the enduring images in the performance originated for the Khambodi padam, ‘Padari Varugude’ by Ghanam Krishna Iyer. Though this is a padam seen on numerous platforms the graceful simile of the heroine being as entranced as a snake (by the snake charmer) was a pleasure for watch.
In such a smooth journey the switch to Bhakti for the Papanasam composition ‘Kanavendamo’ in Sriranjani was rather jerky. Regardless of the dancer’s accurate depictions there still remained some time lag before her adoration of Lord Nataraja’s celestial dance could take hold. ‘ValapuTaatsa’ in Varali and ‘Telise Vagalella’ in Bilahari, ‘Mada Payyale’ in Paras were other sensitive renditions on the path of sringara.
Radha’s request for Krishna to adorn her person, form the heart of Jayadeva’s twenty fourth Ashtapadi tuned in Behag by vocalist K. Hariprasad. ‘Kuruyatha Nandana’ that is blithely sung as bhajans needs quite a bit of sangfroid to perform in the Bharatanatyam style. A mere translation of the words without comprehension of the poetic intent could well lower the depiction to a level of tawdry eroticism. It was not so that morning. Seated on a bench Bragha’s fine-tuned depiction of the lasting love of the divine couple Radha and Krishna stirred appreciation for the ‘beyond sensory experience.’ Her weaving of the romantic situations carried all the delicacy of fine lace that embellished the creative level. Orchestral support consisting of Nattuvangam by Saranya, mridangam play by Anil Kumar and violin renderings by T.K. Padmanabhan augmented the dancing.