GROUP Ambika Kameshwar's group presented episodes from the life of Ramana.LALITHASAI

‘Ananya Ramana', a multimedia presentation by Ambika Kameshwar and her group paid obeisance to Ramana Maharishi at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mylapore. The show was staged under the aegis of Kartik Fine Arts as part of their 35{+t}{+h} year art festival, and it was well received.

Inspired by the book ‘Timeless in Time' written by A. R. Natarajan, Ambika's father, Rajkumar Bharathy conceptualised this presentation and went on to write the script and score music for the same.

The final product was a well-conceived dance drama with select compositions. It had a good balance of heavy and light ragas _ Harikhambodi, Kalyani, Behag, Sindubhairavi and so on. Classical art was integrated well with multimedia.

The programme opened with a group of dancers showing how Ramana was part of the environment _ flora and fauna. With perfect mudras and poses they brought alive deer, monkey, elephant and peacocks on stage. They then moved on to various empathetic visualisations of episodes from the life of Ramana in which dialogue, visuals and dance were well woven.

About a puppy

The first one was about ‘Kamala,' a puppy which had sought refuge in the ashram of Ramana Maharishi. The love shown by Ramana played by Arunesh was quite evident when the puppy was chased away by the inmates. Revathy as Kamala could have exhibited bhayanka rasa better. But in the next scene she did well as a mother of four puppies. Their very entry stole the hearts of the audience.

The dancers then moved over to the next story of how Ramana enjoyed the culinary skills of two old women in the ashram. Evident was the love of ‘Mudaliar patti' for the saint as she prepared food for him.

Then entered a group of ‘monkeys.' A lilting folk song to which dancers swayed gracefully captured the scene. This part of the play, when a huge monkey goes and sits near Ramana, gave ample scope for creative acting and improvisation. Ujjwal expressed well fear as he served the animal food.

Another scene at the Pachiamman temple revealed Ramana's love for a devotee and his consideration for even wild animals. Good sound effects dominated the scene. ‘Achamillai Ramana,' was dominated by nritta.

Creativity came to the fore when dancers came together to build a wall. One carried a heavy load on her head, another relentlessly scooped up mud using a spade and shovel and the others sincerely piled up bricks and cement and showed varying degrees of prowess through hand movements.

In the final and absorbing scene Arunesh as the sadguru looked pragmatic while seated on a conch. Signs of distress were evident and expressed tellingly by Ambika and her team as Ramana breathed his last. The Chakravaham ragam tillanna was a scintillating show of good footwork and time keeping.

It was a journey of devotion for Ambika Kameshwar, choreographer, whose talent stood out and turned the entire recital into a dignified dance presentation. Poorna, Srinivas and Uma too lived up to the challenge of synchronising with a recorded orchestra.