The epic will be presented by groups of eminent gurus.
The epic Ramayanam was an integral part of the 34th Cleveland Tygaraja Aradhana Festival held early this year. It was presented in six parts – Bala Kandam, Ayodhya Kandam, Aranya Kandam, Kishkinda Kandam, Sundara Kandam and Yuddha Kandam – that included Pattabishekam _ as a two-hour programme, featuring eminent singers and dancers who were all in the age-group of 10 to 25.
The lyrics have been written and composed by stalwarts – Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna, N. Ravikaran, Suguna Purushothaman, Neyveli Santhanagopalan and Rukmini Ramani. Choreography is by leading natyacharyas including Savithri Jagannatha Rao, Anitha Guha, Jayanthi Subramaniam, Rhadha and Nartaki Nataraj. These concerts will be featured again in various sabhas in the city. Balakandam will be staged under the guidance of Savithri Jagannatha Rao at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha on December 14, 7.30 p.m. This kandam begins in a joyous mood with the birth of the four children. With girls playing boys the segment includes gurukulam under Vasishta, entry of Vishwamitra into Dasarata's court, Thataka vatham, Sitakalyanam, appearance of Parasurama and Akalya's redemption. “I chose this kandam because it involves many important joyous and auspicious moments and also one can see two avatars meet here,” says Ms. Savithri.
“The lyrics and ragas such as Ramapriya, Manirangu, generally not handled by dancers, made me choose Ayodhya Kandam,” says Narthaki Nataraj. The story line has a lot of scope for deep abhinaya, she says. For instance, Kaikeyi's tantrums, Rama's obedience, Rama-Guha meeting, etc. She plays Kaikeyi and veteran artist Rhadha ‘Kooni.'
The students of Jayanthi Subramaniam, Adyar Lakshmanan, Surya Narayanamurthi and other dance schools will participate in the presentation at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha on Dec. 15 at 7.30 p.m.
Jayanthi Subramaniam continues the story line through Aranya Kandam the next day at the same venue, same time with 16-18 dancers from her dance school Kaladarshana. The encounter with Soorpanaka, abduction of Sita by Ravana and Sabari's love for Rama will be featured in the show. Says Jayanthi: “It turned out to be an interesting experience as it involves many notable characters and episodes, giving scope for the dancer to explore a wide range of emotions.” The shows will be staged at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (Dec. 14, 10.30 a.m.), Krishna Gana Sabha (Dec. 16. 7.30 p.m.), Brahma Gana Sabha (Dec. 27, 7 p.m.) and Indian Fine Arts (Jan. 4, 7.15 p.m.).
Parishvanga Pattabishekam _ Kishkinda kandam and Sundara kandam will be presented by Anita Guha with about 20 dancers on Dec. 11 (10 a.m.) at Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan, Dec. 17 & 18 at Krishna Gana Sabha at 7.15 p.m; Brahma Gana Sabha (Dec. 25, 6.45 p.m.), Bharat Kalachar (Dec. 29, 7.15 p.m.), Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha (Dec. 30, 6.30 p.m.), Indian Fine Arts (Jan. 1, 6.45 p.m.) and Music Academy (Jan. 5, 7.15 p.m.).
Kishkinda Kandam will begin with the meeting of Sugriva and Rama. Rama will portray different kinds of rasas _ anger when Sugriva forgets his promise, sadness due to his separation from Sita, love towards Hanuman and so on. It will end with Hanuman leaving for Lanka.
Hanuman, of course, is the hero of Sundarakandam. Hanuman handing over Rama's ring to Sita, choodamani to Rama and Lanka dahanam are some of the scenes dealt with. It will end with the building of the bridge and marching of troops towards Sri Lanka.
“Together the two kandams have been called ‘Parishvanga Pattabishekam.' Parishvanga means embrace. When Hanuman hands over choodamani to Sita it raises hopes in Rama, who in turn embraces Hanuman. This act is akin to a pattabhishekam for Hanuman and so I named it thus,” explains Anita Guha.
Students of Rhadha will present Yuddha Kandam. It is a collaboration of 13 dancers from different dance schools. It will start with the choodamani pradhanam and then proceed to the battle scenes. The highlight will be the Rama-Ravana battle (lyrics in ragam Vaasanthi). Audience can expect a touch of humour when Kumbakarna is woken up from his sleep. Lyrics in five ragams, five thalams and five languages will make the culminating Rama Pattabhishekam exceptional. Major choreography is by Rhadha with a lot of inputs by Sangeetha Ishwaran and Thiruselvam. Catch up with this kandam at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha on December 19 at 7.30 p.m.