Divyasena and her students brought to life the philosophy of Kulashekara Azhwar.
The nine different concepts of worldly bondage in one’s life and the survival of various elements of Nature as sung by the minstrel Kulasekhara Azhwar, were highlighted in dancer Divyasena’s thematic production, ‘Nava Vidha Bandham.’
Conceptualised, choreographed and produced by her, the dance-narrative saw her and the students of her school, Divyanjali, depict the nuanced elements of the Pasurams or devotional hymns of the Chera king-turned saint. The the roles of mother-child, husband-wife, king-subject, surgeon-patient and so on, were explained as seen through the eyes of the poet.
Divyasena, an accomplished dancer, teacher and choreographer, had delineated every segment of the theme carefully with appropriate elements that came alive through the spirited performance of her students. As the narrator, Divyasena brought out in a simple, straight visualisation, the different types of elements as envisaged by the Azhwar. The students revealed considerable skill in their enactment. While the production sailed smoothly with dignified portrayal of the various relationships, the angasuddham, clean lines and well co-ordinated group work revealed committed work.
The young dancers as lotuses responding to the sunlight and again their display of joy in the scene where the crops await the dark clouds, were energetic. Certain contexts, like in the mother-child scene where the costume of the mother could have been different to give a period –touch as also in the scene of the surgeon, use of complete Natyadharmi approach would have been more appropriate instead of bringing in some stage properties- could have been taken note of.
The success of the production relied on the rich musical composition set by Rajkumar Bharati, whose work stood out for its impeccable quality and grandeur. Rajkumar had explored the splendour of each raga, used appropriately, to create the right impact. The singing by Srikant and Krithika Aravind was laden with bhava. Srikant’s voice conveyed the message of ‘search and surrender’ majestically, while Krithika’s powerful voice had the stamp of her teacher Bombay Jayasri.
The credit for the background score Rajkumar Bharati. The expert members of the orchestra consisted of Embar Kannan (violin), Haribabu (mridangam), Ganapati (tabla and dholak), Bhavaniprasad (veena) and Vishnuvijay (flute). Record artist Sai Sravanam digitised the musical score with refinement. Simple yet attractive costume and tastefully designed jewellery of the dancers deserve mention. This production was supported by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India under its Production Grants Scheme.
NOTE: Events such as this one, which attract a full audience at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Main Hall, require effective air-conditioning especially during the summer months. On this occasion, the audience, including many senior citizens, had to put up with an ineffective air-cooling system. The newly renovated hall certainly requires some immediate attention on this issue.