The finer nuances of ‘Bhamakalapam’ were missing in the presentation.

It has been quite long since any Kuchipudi artiste presented the total text of Bhamakalapam in one program. Siddhendra Kuchipudi Natya Kalakshetram, under the aegis of Sangamam Foundation, presented the complete Bhamakalapam at Ravindra Bharati last week.

For Kuchipudi artistes Bhamakalapam is everything; it has all that one needs to learn – Navarasas, Nayika bhavas, Chaturvidha Abhinayas, etc . It is in short a compendium of Alankara Sastra. It used to be the first drama that Kuchipudi artistes learnt in complete form for it demands perfection in all the segments of Kuchipudi art.

In this production a male artiste K. Adarsa Nair portrayed female role of Satyabhama and a lady Sarada, donned the male role of Srikrishna. Yet one would never have guessed from their performance. Credit goes to young guru Vedantham Satya Narasimha Sastry, son of veteran Radheshyam, for shaping this into a very engaging drama. sakhi

Sidhendra’s script is a compendium of Daruvus sprinkled with metrical Kandarthas and a choornika used for letter writing to Srikishna. The Pravesa daruvu ‘Bhamane Satyabhamane’ sticks to the Yakshagana sampradaya, as was the role played by Sutradhara. He was Satya’s friend Madhavi, rendered compositions, and provided crisp nattuvangam. There are many ways to present Bhama writing a letter to Krishna but Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma’s is perhaps the best; Bhama herself penning the letter squatting and rendering its content in ‘Choornika’ grammar, with the accompanying abhinaya as Suddha lasyam. However, this was not very well done here. In fact the dancers must look to improve in aspects like Pravesa daruvu of Bhama entering with her Jada (plait) hung over the curtain and the letter writing sequence. The troupe must have a better look at the philosophical import of the Jeda with its symbolic 27 stars, three spherical balls representing ‘Tri Bhuvanas’ and so on. The Plait takes on a character of its own as Bhama playfully lashes Krishna with it. Unfortunately a poor sound system played spoil sport. Sridharachari on mridangam, Siva on violin, Venktesh on flute and Sudhakar on Veena were others in the ensemble.