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Yakshagana remembered

G.S.
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Dance Sethuram’s team revived memories of the ancient dance form with ‘Rama Natakam’.

As part of Kuchipudi Nrityotsavas organised by the TTD and Nritya Kinnera at Ravindra Bharati, last week, Bhagavatula Sethuram brought back memories of ‘Yakshagana’. Kuchipudi dancers would at one time presentYakshagana and other dance formstoo. Bhagavatula Sethuram’s father Ramakotiah, the first to bring Kuchipudi to Telangana region, by launching a school in Hyderabad, practicedYakshagana. But that had stopped, according to Sethuram.

This ballet titled ‘Rama Natakam’, Sethuram reveals,was written by Anantha Daasaakhyulu, 35 years ago, and presented by Ramakotiah in 1979. The second production was by his son Sethuram, under review. Satvikabhinayam dominated the show narrated in the purest Telugu language which is easy to assimilate, and presented only to give a taste of Yakshagana to the younger generation. Ramakotiah had trained Sethuram in Vachikabhinaya, the essence of Yakshagana. Sethuram claims he changed it a little, but has been strictly adhering to tradition and trained his students, who performed on the occasion. Sethuram took the role as a Nattuvanar.

The subject being Uttara Ramayanam , it brings into picture sons of Rama, Lava and Kusa, with the story beginning with the coronation of Srirama Most of the young dancers are pretty and skilled in their performances. Renuka as Sita and Vishnuvardhana and Vamsavardhini in respective roles of Lava and Kusa gave brilliant performances. Visali as Lakshmana too impressed. The mellifluous vocal support given by Indira was a great asset. Prakash sang for male roles. The dialogues were catchy. The song ‘Addala (mirrors) Gadi (room) Nunchi Vacche Gaadamma’ for Sita’s part keeps to typical Yakshagana temper. ‘Kavare Sitanu’ a song of Lakshmana was moving. Though the structuring of the ballet was simple, its positive impact on audience was praiseworthy. Rohini Prasad as Srirama, Srilatha as Bharata, and Tejavini as Satrughna also left their mark.

Subbalakshmi on violin and Nageswara Rao on mridangam lent support. Such performances based on ancient scripts will help audience asses the greatness of Telugu literature and traditions. Sethuram deserves praise for this.

G.S.


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