Methil Devika illustrated her Mohiniyattam recital with poised and clear delineations.
Mohiniyattam artiste Methil Devika presented an evening of dance that was composed of exquisite, little-known items at a recital in Kochi. Devika is proficient in Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam too. The artiste is currently pursuing her doctorate in dance.
Devika's cholkettu, with its measured movements, contrasted with the more dynamic movements in the second speed of rhythm. This was perhaps the only item that brought out the grammar and structure of the dance. At the end of this piece, she presented a sloka by Sankaracharya that was dedicated to Mohini, the presiding deity of Mohiniyattam. The rest of the items that followed were mostly thematic.
Taking chaste lyrics from ‘Brahmaniyammapattu,' Devika presented ‘Krishna Janmam,' a traditional piece in which she depicted in pictorial detail, the events surrounding Lord Krishna's birth. Krishna's mother, Devaki, exhibits remarkable changes when she becomes pregnant.
Devika portrayed the mother's trepidation at seeing the child in its godly form, carrying the conch, chakra, et al in his four hands. The drama of the piece was heightened with resounding beats of the cymbals as the artiste depicted the tail end of the item where Krishna's father, Vasudeva, carries the infant across the river. A serpent raises its hood to provide cover for the father and the son from the incessant rain.
The third item, ‘Ammankatha,' which was based on the ‘Chilapathikaram,' was the piece de resistance of the recital. The coquettish behaviour of the courtesan Madhavi and the repentance of Kovalan was marked by good abhinaya. Kannaki's rage leads to the burning of the city of Madurai. This also received due emphasis in the presentation.
Devika's delineations are studied and clear, and are devoid of gimmicks that are usually meant to excite. She portrayed all the characters with sincerity and involvement. The absence of live music could not be compensated even as the dancer mentioned the names of the musicians.
In the last piece, ‘Ramachandraprabhu,' Devika illustrated the depth of Bharata's devotion to his elder brother Lord Rama. The programme was organised by Kerala Fine Arts Society.