Renowned Kuchipudi exponent Sobha Naidu and her team of dancers presented Kuchipudi ballet Vipranarayanait as part of ‘Kuchipudi Nrityotsavam’ held at Ravindra Bharati under the aegis of TTD and Nritya Kinnera.
Sobha Naidu and her team of artistes made it as one of best dramas in recent times. She had with her another noted guru of Kuchipudi, Bhagavatula Seturam, in the title role of Vipranarayana and Sobha taking up the role of most mischievous ‘Vesya’ Devadevi, who is proud of her own beauty. Familiarity of the theme helped audience to concentrate more on the performing skills displayed by artistes in prime roles of Devadevi, Vipranarayana and the main supporting characters like Srinivasa, assistant to Vipranarayana, who guards temple festivities and Devadevi’s moves to capture the attention of Vipranarayana. The winning point of the episode was the mischievous acts of Devadevi, brilliantly portrayed by Sobha and her choreographic skills kept intact the charm of Kuchipudi style, besides keeping up to the ballet’s theatrical appeal.
The ballet opened with Koluvaitiva Rangasai’ with devotees presenting it before the presiding deity Ranganatha. It set the mood of the ballet. The many jatis presented in between lines were in variegated rhythmic structures. And the drama picked up with the entry of Devadevi with her friend Madhuravani (Shrutakeerti) into the temple gardens, supported by song Vedalenu Vayyarulu.’
Though temple priest Vipranarayana ignores her initially, he finally succumbs to her plea. Verses too added to the richness of literature. Over a period Devadevi too falls for his innocent ways and large-heartedness. .
It is now time for God Ranganatha to interfere. He steals a golden vessel from his own sanctum sanctorum and presents it to Devadevi’s mother. Vipranarayana is blamed for stealing the vessel. This goes to the notice of the king who orders to whip Vipranarayana. Ranganatha then tells all that it was his design and Viranarayana is innocent. The ballet ends with both Vipranarayana and Devadevi laying their lives. Bhagavathula Sethuram played Vipranarayana displaying all his innocence and later love for Devadevi. Surendra played his assistant Srinivasa Kranthi figured as Vesyamatha. Basava Lavanya, Nallu Sagarika, Nityasubhaprada and Hymavati were in other roles, mostly as supporting dancers. Baby Veda figured as child Krishna. Vocalists Nitya Santoshini, Amalapuram Kanna Rao, Manda Krishnamohan provided vocal support to characters. V. Nagaiah’s costuming work was laudable. Kanna Rao also had a little share in scripting the work. The ballet was presented to pre-recorded music, a wise move.