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Remarkable performance

Harish Bal
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Dance Manju Warrier captivated the audience in Kochi with her Kuchipudi recital. Harish Bal

Manju Warrier’s Kuchipudi dance recital in Kochi was a much-awaited event that was watched by a packed audience. The artiste’s performance was a blend of technique and aesthetics. In the ‘Poorvarangam’, where the dancer offered salutations to Shiva, the audience, scholars et. al., Manju left the audience spellbound from the word go. Tastefully done costumes and a high order music ensemble, all worked in her favour.

As the recital progressed to ‘Bhama pravesham’, her mudras and expressions explored many nuances of the lyrics. Manju gracefully portrayed the pride and dignity of Bhama in her entry. The charis and adavus impeccably fell into place as her feet danced to the rhythmic patterns with great precision. Geetha Padmakumar, on the nattuvangam, gave wholesome support in accomplishing this feat.

The actor in Manju came alive in a composition ‘Chaliye Kunjan’, as she traced the course of the river in ‘Dekho jamuna re bahi sundar’ and enacted the bashfulness of a maiden who gets soaked in yogurt when Krishna breaks her pot containing curd.

The Kurinji song ‘Muddugare Yashoda’ further explored the possibilities of abhinaya. The attributes of Krishna are compared to nine gems. Krishna, submerged in Yashoda’s kisses, is compared to a child in a tub of pearls, but the same child is as strong as a diamond when he kills Kamsa. Yasoda’s ‘vatsalya’ for the child and Krishna’s killing of the serpent Kaliya were admirably executed.

The episode of ‘Rukmini swayamvara’ was dealt with in detail. Manju’s portrayal of the valiant Krishna arriving at the marriage venue on his chariot and driving away with the princess couldn’t have been done any better. The leaps and jumps, characteristic to Kuchipudi, were executed with restraint and panache.

Manju traced the ferocity and benevolence of the goddess in her many forms in ‘Durge Durge’. The goddess dwells in the Sreechakra and is adorned with a thousand names. Manju vividly portrayed the story of the temple priest who is threatened by King Serfoji. The king orders the priest to show him the full moon on a new moon day if the priest’s devotion to the goddess was true. The goddess throws her diamond earring into the sky, thus illuminating the sky.

A breathtaking recital in which stage presence and grace dominated proved that Manju has it in her to make it big in her innings as a dancer.

The programme was organised by Dharani society.


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