Odissi recital by Sharmila Mukherjee and her students had finesse and grace
The ICCR Horizon series featured Sharmila Mukherjee along with her students in an Odissi recital. Sharmila commenced the evening with the traditional Manikya Veena Mangalacharan “Mata Marakata Shyama” in praise of Goddess Saraswati. Neat movement surfaced right from the beginning. Batu propitiating Shiva in his Bhairav aspect set to raga Mohana in Eka Taali and one of the most difficult Nritta aspect followed next, featuring the students of Sanjali. Neat chowka positions, the intricate movements during the “Takae dha” rhythmic phrase, the slow movements gradually gathering momentum were done with finesse, though the dristi Vedas and the attami needed subtlety. In the Keervani pallavi set to taal jhula by Maya and Prithvi, one must appreciate Maya's neat execution of the pallavi with clear delineation of the chala (Agra and Prastha), an indigenous element.
Maya and Prithivi's neat footwork precisely matching the swara “ta ham ta Tehn” with the graceful lilting of the upper torso which continued shifting through an enchanting rhythmic phrase. The ‘S' curve as created during the asymmetrical tribhangi position along with the beautiful permutation and combination of chowks and charis proved the dancers grit on the minute nritta technicalities. The beautiful circular brahmaris during the “ta jhum ta ri jhena” deserved applause. The “Sakhi hae” astapadi with Sharmila as Radha entreating her sakhi to quickly go and fetch Krishna was done with aplomb. Execution of Radha as an abhisarika nayika trying to meet Krishna in a dense forest, taking off her anklets to avoid sound was revealed beautifully through her eyes and body movements. The intimate exchanges between Krishna and Radha had an immense aesthetic appeal. The “ta jhom tari jhom” pallavi set to Raag Bageshree in ekataali choreographed by Ratikanta Mohapatra followed next. The neat movements forming square, the linear and circular charis, the correctly executed Dakshyachala, Bamachala, Utchala and Prustha Chala — the variations of chowk aggrandised the overall effect. The “Keta Kata gadi gena dha” pallavi set to Raga Megh in Jhampa taal celebrating the onset of monsoon by Siddharth and Ipsa deserves applause for its enthralling lyrical quality. Good choreography set by Sharmila to suit a duet with the opposite movements during the “Nisa na na ta na di re na” rhythmic phrase along with movements concomitant to splashing of water calls for appreciation. Siddharth requires practice to bring out the balancing effect of the form, Ipsa Mohanty's performance calls for maturity. The evening concluded with “Ganga”, an enthralling choreography by Sharmila. Audio effects of rippling of water and awesome light effects by Sai Venkatesh added to a rounded performance.