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Updated: June 4, 2010 18:10 IST

Celebrating a landmark

Ranee Kumar
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A scene from the dance drama ‘Kalayana Srinivasam’.
Special arrangement A scene from the dance drama ‘Kalayana Srinivasam’.

The staging of dance drama ‘Kalayana Srinivasam’ was an appropriate event to mark the success of Sobha Naidu.Ranee Kumar

Three decades and going strong is no mean achievement in the arena of classical dance. It called for a celebration and The Srinivasa Kuchipudi Art Academy run by renowned dancer Sobha Naidu was game for it. So, we had the popular dance drama Kalyana Srinivasam performed by the young pupils of the dance school as part of its annual day.

The mystical number 116 has auspicious connotation among Telugus. Here, Sobha Naidu propelled her 116 pupils on to the stage with Rangapooja followed by the dance drama. The stage went vibrant of colour and rhythm with twinkle toes all worked up on getting the right footwork leaving the hasta positioning to the winds! Well, it was their day after all trying to showcase their dance skills to enthusiastic parents and teachers plus the audience. And they did a good job, especially with Kalyana Srinivasam.

To start with, the vocalists Amalapuram Kanna Rao, Sangeethakala and Geetanjali were like embellishments to the dance drama. Rich, lively voices swaying to the mood of the mythological kept the audience in rapt attention. Raghjunandan's nattuvangam was compelling. Mrinali as Lord Srinivasa looked convincing and moved through the entire drama with uniformity in footwork and mobility in facial expressions. Tender Shivani as Padmavathi stole the show with her delicate frame, graceful footwork. She was at ease with abhinaya which was surprising for one so young. Her doe eyes spoke volumes and she seemed a bundle of talent waiting to bloom. Though she appeared a wee bit too young for her role, she shouldered it with confidence. Her captivating looks were her plus point. Divya D. as Vakula was too sharp-featured and young to essay the role of an old mother to Lord Srinivasa. Her very expressive face could have been put to better use in a more significant role that gelled with her age and figure. The others were suited to their respective characters as the well-known drama of Lord Venkateswara unfolded in a series of scenes right from Vaikuntam to Bhoolokam.

Certain scenes have their perennial appeal like the gods disguised as cows to provide milk to Lord Vishnu who has taken the form of Srinivasa on earth. Their feet tapped in absolute sync and unison to a set of impressive jatis. The cowherd dance, full of vigour with an element of folk was tilting and very apt. Meghana as Gollabhama showed her prowess with chirpy expressions and striking footwork. Similarly, the ‘Sodhi' scene where the ‘Erukulasani' forecasts Princess Padmavathi's marriage was fairly long one and full of pep. Divya Anoosha N. did full justice to her character. The gala finale was the celestial wedding where all the characters converged lending an aura of divine grandeur. The wedding paraphernalia with background music and stage lighting contributed to a very picturesque presentation. Kudos to Sobha Naidu for her wonderful achievement in propagating Kuchipudi dance without a break for thirty years. It is worth a celebration. The event was held at Ravindra Bharati

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