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An endearing rendition

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EPIC DRAMA A Kuchipudi interpretation of Ramayana.
EPIC DRAMA A Kuchipudi interpretation of Ramayana.

Sri Ramacharitram, a dance ballet, presented episodes from Tulsidas' Ramayana.

The students of Kuchipudi Kalakshetra, an offshoot of Padmabhushan Vempati's Kuchipudi Art Academy, Chennai, presented Sri Ramacharitam, a dance ballet based on Tulsidas' bhajan Sri Ramachandra last week at Kalabharathi.After the invocation with the traditional song vaniparaaku followed by Jayamu Jayamu choreographed by Vempati, the ballet started off by attractively visualising the episodes of Viswamitra Yagasamrakshana, Sitaswayamvaram, Kaika's request to Darasata to sanction the boons he promised earlier, Vanavasam, the story of the golden deer followed by Sitaapaharanam, the construction of the vaaradhi by the vaanaraas, Rama Ravanayuddham, Ravanasamhaaram and the pattabhishekam of Sri Rama at Ayodhya while a sutradhari through self explanatory abhinaya introduced the event one after the other as they get revealed in the bhajan. Choreographed and directed by the principal of the Kalakshetra, Hari Rama Murthy, who also wielded the cymbols, the background music had expert mridangam by Kanthilal, vocals by B. Varahalu, violin by K.V.S. Prasad and flute by Atchutha Rao, makeup by Surya Rao and Sudha, lighting by Suribabu, sound amplification system by Ramesh of Kalabharathi, all under the supervision of M.S. Prasad from Chennai. Kavya Smrithi as Rama, Sasiprabha as Sita, Divyachoodamani as Lakshmana, Y. Hanumantha Rao as Viswamitra, V.V.S. Jagannadha Rao as the narrator, a king (along with the other king roles donned by D. Suryaprakash, A.V. Ramana and A.M. Dinakar) and Ravana, R. Satyanarayana as Janaka, Gangabhavani as Sunayana (wife of Janaka), K.V. Ramana Rao as Dasaradha and Aparna Swathi as Ahalya performed well, depicting the attributes of the respective characters. Himbindu, Sumathi, Viswa Santhi, Kiranmayi, Anuradha, Sruthi, Sraddha, Swarnalatha and Kalyani constituted the team presenting the story in conformity with the sutradhari's narrative singing.Minor but not altogether unnoticeable lapses were noticed in achieving synchrony in sruthi between the vocalist and the nattuvannar, keeping the time (kaalapramaanam /laya), mudra and gestural movements in the group dances. But the maiden attempt in choreography, direction and presenting a dance ballet by Hari Rama Murthy amply reflected his potential. It holds promise for a bright future not only for himself but also for the tradition like his great guru Vempati.A.R.S


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