Dance Rama Bharadwaj impressed with her creative conceptualisation of amity and friendship.
Asimple theme, projected in the most sensitive manner possible so that it achieves a dimension most un-thought of, through the idiom of Bharatanatyam: this in a nutshell is Rama Bharadwaj's crisp presentation as part of the Rangasutra festival at NIFT auditorium.
The first impression one gets soon after viewing her dance Mitram is that this mind-boggling presentation should be taken to a bigger platform and a larger audience. A briefing about her choreography in the softest of tones and muted costume only served to enhance the underlying divinity of her theme. The forking of the title into ‘mitranjali' and ‘mitrakatha' to demarcate as also link two concepts of amity and friendship with the divine was in itself very creative and original.
Rama Bharadwaj re-created the music of ‘Maitrim bhajathe' originally composed by the Paramacharya of Kanchi Mutt and rendered as a keertana by none other than M.S. Subbulakshmi. It was adapted to a dance medium in the most beautiful manner possible. Rajkumar Bharati's music for this piece as well as the one that followed, though pre-recorded, was nothing less than stupendous. The dancer after a briefing in English, depicts how the umbilical chord of amity and love binds all living creatures with mother earth. ‘Why then the war, why then the rivalries and myriad negative feelings among the most evolved of God's creatures-men?' The lyric deplores strife and killing among humans when all other creatures live in absolute amity.
Every movement of her body and hands were defined to convey the most abstract thought and deed. Crisp jatis gave the right impetus to the dance while her abhinaya to depict our birth from and return to mother earth was realistic to the core. In a flash, we find the dancer holding rose petals in both her palms and celebrating universal love. The subtle manner in which she brought a flower and its petals from nowhere speaks volumes of her skill as a dancer. The second part is the well-known, pathetic tale of a poor Brahmin Sudhama and his friendship with none other than Lord Krsna—king of Dwaraka. the artist dwelt on the suffering of a poor man with a such realistic portrayal, that most of us unknowingly felt our eyes go moist.
The poverty-striken Brahmin's embarrassment to offer the beaten rice flakes to Krsna while the latter insists on eating it, was emoted so well that one could relate and identify with such moments in life. Every frame had something to offer. The ‘Mitrakatha' was in five languages of verses from five to six different poets across Sanskrit, Malayalam, vraj, etc, all weaved together to form a composite story of Sudhama and Krsna. The finale was spell-binding with the ‘Narayana, Hari' refrain. Each song was a gem in itself and Rama's dance was an enriching experience to say the least.