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Hema Malini presents ‘Durga’ to a standing ovation

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Class act: Hema Malini performing a dance ballet during the festivities in Mysore.
Class act: Hema Malini performing a dance ballet during the festivities in Mysore.

R. Krishna Kumar

The Bharatanatyam-based performance mesmerises audience

MYSORE: Destruction of evil forces symbolised by the demon Mahishasura, at the hands of Goddess Durga denoting Shakti, brought the curtains down on the cultural fiesta of Mysore Dasara, with danseuse Hema Malini as the lead protagonist who played the role of Sati, Parvathi and Durga with aplomb here on Saturday.

In what was a befitting finish to the Navratri festival, a capacity crowd watched the dream girl of yesteryear performing the Bharatanatyam dance ballet “Durga”, with an ensemble of artistes. The final scene conjured up images of the goddess slaying Mahishasura with the hymn “Ayigiri Nandini…” playing in the background.

The dance ballet, presented by Natyavihar Kalakendra, mesmerised the large audience. The state-of-the art sound and lighting effects reinforced public perception of Dasara 2007 as the most memorable edition in recent years.

Durga, the dance ballet, commenced with an invocation to Lord Ganesh and was presented in three stages.

The opening sequence had Hema Malini playing the role of Sati who visits her father Daksha’s house uninvited for the Yagna.

Unable to bear the humiliation meted out to her consort Shiva, she is consumed by fire on her own will. The ballad included the dance of Shiva after the death of Sati, emergence of Parvathi and her marriage to Shiva and the creation of Durga for the destruction of Mahishasura.

The theme of the dance ballet, drawn from Markandeya Purana and Devi Mahtmaya, reached its climax with the battle between Mahishasura and Durga who is bestowed with weapons by various gods to humble and slay the demon.

The production of Durga is among the most popular of dance ballets of Natyavihar Kalakendra. The background score was by singers Kavitha Krishnamurthy, Yesudas and Suresh Wadkar, and music by Ravindra Jain and choreography by Bhushan Lakandri.

The show concluded with a standing ovation from the audience and the danseuse, who was equally impressed by the strong crowd, had a few words to say about Mysore. “I consider it a blessing to have performed here in Mysore on the auspicious occasion of Dasara. The dance ballet Durga was apt for Maha Navmi day,” said Hema Malini. She added: “I am visiting Mysore after 25 years and the city still retains its charm and is beautiful. I hope it remains that way, and I hope its heritage and culture is preserved and is not affected by latest trends and modernisation. I am glad to have performed at Mysore Dasara of which we have heard so much.”

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