Choreographic detailing, splendid dancing and a dash of humour lent ‘Tripaada’ the right dose of drama.

An imaginative script, graceful natyam and a good dose of humour carried forward the story of the Vamana avatar in flamboyant style. ‘Tripaada,’ the dance theatre presentation by K. S. R. Anirudha, was an ingenious mix of Bharatanatyam with dynamic slices of Kalari, Tai Chi and motifs of folk art.

The show’s premier was a well-attended event and engaged the rasikas’ interest at different levels without resorting to cinematic depictions. Anirudha and Lakshmi’s on stage introduction gave a peppy start to the dance drama.

The nritta sequences to the tune of syllables reminiscent of thillana in ragas such as Simhendramadhyamam provided a strong note of classicism. Priya Murle’s inputs for choreographic detailing ensured a high level of clear-cut Bharatanatyam, performed by the smiling dancers. The adoption of the droll kattiyakaran was a brilliant device that worked its magic well. At the right intervals, the komali (performed by Madhusudanan) would come hopping in and add spice to the sequences with comic exaggeration.

The recorded music was an eclectic blend of different languages in the classical and light category. While slokas drawn from ancient texts prefaced the Vaishnavaite theme, some folk songs made a lively background. The team of male singers was led by Srikanth and the female voices included Nandini Anand (who had also provided inputs for music direction). Several ragas such as Kedaram, Thodi and Sahana made up the rich musical score. The skills of artists Kandadevi Vijayaraghavan and J. B. Shruti Sagar added lustre to the orchestral team.

As a first time production, ‘Tripaada’ reflected the need for tightening some loose ends. The links between early scenes could have been smoother. For instance, the introduction of the ‘terai’ the first time came across as too abruptly. Likewise, the entry of the Vamana Avatar needed more vitality to highlight the impact. In the rush post-Viswaroopam, the crew overlooked the bare platform and it stood forlorn and exposed after all the delightful performing!

‘Tripaada’’s attraction was kept aloft by the skill of the main characters, each of whom performed with panache. The roles of Mahabali (Priya Murle), Shukracharya (Priya Dixit), the delicate Vamana (Sharvanti Pinglay) and that of the Trivikrama Avatar (Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy) were enacted with due diligence. The ‘poikaalkudirai’ entry for Mahabali and the egoistic macho walk won rounds of applause.

Shukracharya’s role was done with all the dignity needed for the character and Vamana’s face conveyed the mischief and wisdom one associated for this part. The unstinting body moves of the kalari artists provided the requisite electricity for the dance. Above all, veteran Sudharani Raghupathy’s netra abhinaya spoke volumes.

Priya Dixit, Priya Murle, Sharvanti Pinglay, Bruno Chandiran (the Kalari artist) and other talented dancers made up the cast.

Anirudha was credited with the concept, research, script and other related departments, while Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy had produced and managed the overall choreography.

Watch Tripaada next at The Music Academy: Jan. 5, 7.30 p.m.

Keywords: Tripaadamargazhi