In focus Nritya Sankeertanam is a new concept portraying ‘abhinaya’ to vocal devotionals. Gudipoodi Srihari
It will be interesting to know that J.S. Eswara Prasad first revealed his abhinaya skills while he was serving The Hindu as a teleprinter operator during one of the Ayudha Pooja days. Later he joined BHEL’s Quality section. He took a voluntary retirement to concentrate on ‘Nritya Sankeertanam’ — abhinaya to devotional numbers, which he specialised and popularised. Now his son Sriram supports him as vocalist.
South Indian Cultural Association (SICA) held an event featuring him during ‘Sri Krishna Janmashtami’ season. The subject of his dance on this occasion was ‘Leelas’ (miraculous deeds) of Lord Krishna. It started with Vykuntha Gadyam from Thyagaraja’s ‘Prahlada Bhakti Vijayam’ giving out the picture of Lord Vishnu’s abode ‘Vaikuntham’. There was a suitable Annamacharya kirtana Vinaro Bhagyamu Vishnu Katha he presented with full concentration on Vishnu’s deeds as described in the kirtana.
The most suitable source for the presentation of ‘Krishnaleelalu’ being Narayana Teertha Tarangams, he chose the tarangam Ehi Mudham Dehi , to dramatise naughty pranks of child Krishna with his mother Yasoda and then with Gopikas. Eswara Prasad’s abhinaya describing all the acts of Srikrishna was praise worthy.
Oothukadu Venkata Subbaiyer wrote plenty of compositions on Srikrishna’s deeds from which Prasad chose Swagatham Krishna a favourite number even for many a Kuchipudi dancer.
Eswara Prasad also chose a Tamil composition of Oothukadu Asaindadum Mayil Onru Kaanum in Simhendramadhyam that describes poet’s delight in watching a dancing peacock, an indication of Lord’s arrival. He also chose Marakata Manimaya Chela of Oothukadu, another dance number most suitable for Prasad’s abhinaya. There was an abhang of Saint Ekanath Sakala Devancha Niyantha saying the Lord rules over Universe.
Vocalists Sriram and K.V. Sairam rendered these compositions with good expression of sahitya in Carnatic flavour. Subba Rao on harmonium, T.P. Balasubramanium on mridangam, Balaji on dolak and Jayaram on tabla lent support.