Sri Krishna Gana Sabha: ‘Sri Krishna Vaibhavam,’ displayed the fine balance of aangikam, vaachikam, aahaaryam and saathvikam.

Staged at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, the dance drama, ‘Sri Krishna Vaibhavam,’ the silver jubilee mega production (11 one) of Sridevi Nrityalaya, was well-illustrated with a content-rich repertoire. Nearly 80 dancers brought alive various episodes from the life of Lord Krishna with a fine balance of aangikam, vaachikam, aahaaryam and saathvikam. The Lord who grew up amidst cow herds was shown as a lovable and mischievous child, a lover, a servant, a teacher and a friend.

Eight dancers, narrators, describing Krishna’s magnanimous nature proved to be an absorbing start. They went on to describe how he had captured the heart of Radha and Meera, dispelled fear from the heart of his devotees and had all the time been the quintessence of love and affection.

The first episode portrays Krishna as an adorable child at Gokulam. When Baby Samiksha was brought on stage by the dancers, it drew a thunderous applause from the audience. The innocent expressions exhibited by the little one suited the character. A crawling Krishna ate butter, an older one played pranks on the gopikas – pulling their hair, messing up their dress, beating and biting them.

Kannan came in as the Sadguru next. By saving the gopikas from a sinking boat, he explained to them the importance of overcoming ego when they reach out to the almighty. The gopikas initially refuse to take Krishna stating he was just a cowherd and more suited to handling ruminants than a boat. Effective sound effects dominated the scene. The dancers proved their excellence in Saathvikaabhinaya and vaachikaabhinaya. Screaming and crying, all of them brought rasa bhava to the fore uniformly.

In a boat that was tossed about, one trembled, another cringed at the fierce wind and yet another was scared of the rising water.

Harini Jeevitha and Suvasani Kannan with innate grace brought out the lover in Krishna. Clad in a white and gold dress, Harini Jeevitha flitted in and out of the stage as the Lord, who pined for Radha. Krishna (Suvasini) was majestic, steeped in sringara and exhibited her mastery over viraha.

By serving Kuchela, Krishna was extolled as an excellent care-taker. Right from washing his feet, feeding him, to lulling him to sleep, a humble Krishna paid obeisance to friendship. The way the two reminisced about their childhood was depicted uniquely. As the two watched, on the other side of the stage, little kuchela and Krishna pranced about eating butter, climbing trees and shielding each other from the cold wind.

The Kurukshetra war was well-visualised by guru Sheela Unnikrishnan – Krishna as friend of Arjuna. Uma Ramachandran as Krishna, with precise mukhaabhinaya, was the show stealer in this piece. Whether it was dealing with the arrogant Dhuryodhana or the simple Pandavas, she elevated the audience to the realm of bliss. Blowing of the conch and the use of props such as an umbrella turned the scene an animated one. Sprightly children, as horses, danced their way into the hearts of the audience. The spectacle touched a new level, when Krishna pushed the chariot down as Karna released the Nagaastra towards Arjuna. Down went the little dancers, the props and the chariot riders, at the same time. Kudos to the choreography. The episode ended with the Viswaroopam.

Kuldeep Pai’s melodious music kept the audience enthralled throughout. Gayathri Shankaran, Rajeevi and Rupa Kuldeep’s voice made the recital magical. The accompanists were Bhavani Prasad (veena), Vishnu Vijay (flute), Ember Kannan (violin) and Guru Bharadwaj (konnakkol).