Deepa Chakravarthy, a disciple of dancer Gopika Varma, is an earnest and confident Mohiniyattom dancer. She excelled in the performance of the non-aggressive, non-linear dance style with her soft, graceful movements and her light-footed but well-timed steps. Her eyes are remarkably participative: they highlight the swaying torso and at the same time act as windows for expressions to flow through.
The repertoire was a different matter altogether. One felt the compositions did not get the best out of a good dancer and a good orchestra. The cholkattu (Hamirkalyani, Adi, Sudev Warrier) and the Shiva Panchakshara Stothram served well as warm up pieces with simple nritta segments in the former and invocatory descriptions in the latter. But the choice of ‘Pannagendra Sayana’ (ragamalika, Rupaka, Swati Tirunal) was questionable.
Though the padam is musically beautiful and gives scope for the short and sweet pure dance segments in the swaras, the same suffering nayika recurring every time for the duration of the twenty-five minute piece was too indulgent at that point.
The dancer herself seemed to come alive after the first hour. The subsequent 'Kanakamaya maayeedum' (Husseini, misra chapu, Swati Tirunal) was the best of the evening where one saw more involvement and spontaneity from her. There was a genuine expression of excitement on her face as she gazed at Padmanabha's procession and tried to guess the identity of the majestic figure. Perhaps the moment of recognition could have been better presented?
As for the musicians, the tillana (Dhanashri, Adi, Swati Tirunal) was the best. The edakka artist (Kalamandalam Suresh Kumar) enhanced the delicate nuances of the attami and the vigour of the muzhu mandis while the vocalist (Sudev) seemed to suddenly find his voice and deliver full-throated singing!
The consistent performers were: Vipina Ramachandran (nattuvangam), Sunil Kumar (flute) and Nagarajan (mridangam).