‘Peacock Blue – Mayil Vannam' was told through song, dance and poetry.VIDYA SARANYAN

‘Peacock Blue – Mayil Vannam' showcased Lord Krishna in myriad ways through the threefold confluence of dance, song and oratory.

While dancers Sheejith Krishna and Anjana Anand gave visual shape to the poetry, Gayatri Venkatraghavan captured the feel of the elusive god through music.

The moving language of Gowri Ramnarayan (concept and direction) soldered past and present, fact and fiction to present before the rasika the heady scent of Krishna – the blue hued god.

The skein of adbhuta rasa and its strands of allied emotions shimmered in the course of the recital.

The dancers began with the verse ‘Gopalaratnam' and ‘Pralaya Payodi', the popular Dasavataram in ragamaalika by Jayadeva.

Sheejith's choreography revealed the Omnipresence of Krishna as a slideshow of the ten avatars where brisk jatis fused with mime. The Krishna motif was underscored with the dancers fastening the peacock feather and the flute to the bare frame in front of the stage.

Although the dancers performed with vim and vigour, there was initially a quality of detachment in the combined efforts. There was no dearth of talent whether in Gowri's talk or Gayatri's outpouring of melody (backed by violinist Amrita Murali) but it did take some time for the three to gel.

For the initial number, Krishna remained elusive. It was in the following songs that one got a positive feel of the God.

Anjana Anand as the doting mother who vainly tries to keep the baby away from Sheejith, the formidable mendicant with snakes in his hair, formed the canvas for the next piece, ‘Dekho Ri', a bhajan attributed to Surdas. Siva's secret pranaam to the baby who playfully pulls his locks and draws away his snakes were ingenious touches by Sheejith.

In her commentary, Gowri artfully built up the ‘suspense' while pointing out how Maya had blinded Yasoda to the presence of these two divinities.

Role reversal

‘Paripahi', an extract from Duriyodhana Vadham of the Kathakali tradition, presented Krishna as the friend, not of Sudama as would be expected but of Draupadi. This piece was choreographed sensitively by Bragha Bessel and performed by Anjana.

While she succeeded in capturing the sorrow, she overlooked Panchali's steely resolve entirely.

As the dancer offered worship, one saw only a wounded deer and not the fiery Pandava queen. It was left to the spirited monologue and the song to pick up the throbbing note of outrage tempered with sorrow.

A Tamil song by Kalki Krishnamurthy ‘Vedanai Seididum' in Kaapi followed a Malayalam lyric which extolled the virtues of chanting Krishna's name. The twist in the Tamil song was the role reversal: Sheejith donned the role of nayika and Anjana that of the friend. His essay was remarkable for its moderation and avoidance of any sickly sweet notes.

Ras Khan and Mirabai's evocative verses in raag Hindol provided the finishing touch.