Srekala Bharat’s version fell short of expectations.
Srekala Bharat returned to perform ‘Bhaktha Meera’, which she premiered on the same stage a decade ago. The choreography is based on a musical opera composed by Rukmini Ramani.
Srekala’s experience and expertise were evident right through the performance, both in the ease and competence in nritta as also in communicating a range of emotions with conviction. Attired in an aesthetic brocaded costume, the dancer entered and the story of Meera unfolded.
Starting with her childhood with the depiction of her mother’s vatsalya bhava to Meera’s blossoming love for Krishna, and then moving to her marriage with the Rana, the suffering she had to face before her surrender and final union with Lord Krishna, were told in quick succession. As a routine dance performance, it had no cause for complaint.
When a presentation is thematic, the perspective of viewing changes. By choosing a subject that’s embedded in the minds of people, Srekala had the daunting task of living up to their expectations.
Given her experience, the choice of the story telling format was disappointing. The frequent use of jathis and fast tempo music left no time for rest or repose so essential to internalise and communicate the core of Meerabhai’s life which is bhakti. In the bhajan ‘Hari Tum Haro,’ by focussing on the stories of Gajendra Moksha and Draupadi Vastrapaharan, somehow, the devotional aspect of the song was relegated to the background. The dancer needs to relook at her work, to bring in fresh insights into it befitting her stature as a mature dancer.