Splendid staging of ‘Geetamritam’ marked the end of the 19th edition of Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Fest.

The finale marked the end of the 19th Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival with a tribute to the legendary guru from his own Srjan’s group production ‘Geetamritam’.

The ballet was aesthetics in motion. It was not the usual Bhagawad Gita recreated with a Krishna and Arjuna running round the stage miming a horse-drawn chariot and finally alighting and beginning the sermon with the inevitable ‘Vishwaroopa darshan’. Not that these elements were totally deleted from Geetamritam. They are the mandatory aspects but then, the manner in which the theme was projected was simply awesome. The choreography by Guru Ratikanth Mohapatra was stupendous. The lighting and digital effects, the music, the Sanskrit slokas/songs that flowed across in chaste diction lifted the presentation to an altitude. The typically Odissi costume with no changes in accordance to the characters spelt out the theme in silence with its peacock green and white representing Krishna and wisdom (white) of the Gita bodhan. The synchronisation, the stage setting with no props but an on-and-off digital screen which subtly displayed the environs made for a picture perfect visual in terms of aesthetics and artistry.

The group converging on stage, in the language of Odissi dance, to create a tree under which sage Vyasa penned the Mahabharata of which the Bhagawad Gita formed the philosophical essence, was depicted with artistic clarity. The raised platform at the backdrop provided the background for the Mahabharata where dancers arrayed in a single file with hasthamudras to depict the Kauravas (to the right) and Pandavas to the left representing the battle lines drawn as Arjuna (ably enacted by Bijaylaxmi Satapathy) and Krishna (Rajashri Praharaj) take the centre stage. The invocatory group dance gave way to the arrival of Krishna driving Arjuna’s chariot with a small group of dancers substituting the horses which was very appealing to the eye. The profound abhinaya by Bijaylaxmi depicting despair, nervousness and a sudden desire to withdraw from war was very convincing both through facial expression and gestures. Rajashree, despite being a good dancer, did not impress as Krishna — her puny stature vis-à-vis Arjuna was contrasting and therefore her abhinaya which ought to have dominated the entire presentation got drowned in just a few hand gestures and a smile. Two scenes were mind-boggling: the Viswaroopam where the dancers along with Krishna converged in patterns to form a beautiful depiction of Vishnu both in single file and multiple designs with Krishna in the forefront changing stances to denote the myriad avatars of the Supreme being who spans across the universe (Vishwaroop). This was delineated with clock-like precision and clarity that the viewer could just about read the description. Even more awesome was the arrival of Krishna and Arjuna (post Geethopadesham) for war, drawn on a six-horse chariot in full glory. There were no props whatsoever. Six dancers, few bending to mime horses drawing a chariot while four dancers representing the wheels actually danced sitting on their haunches as the chariot takes a turn around the stage and the two alight for the battle. Such brilliant choreography is hard to find. The war was subtly depicted again on the raised platform as a backdrop and with a few instances from the life of Krishna, the ballet drew to an exquisite close. It was a crisp essence of the Gita and true to its name the presentation was like nectar (amritam) at the end of a grand feast.