The stage comes alive

Parshwanath Upadhye’s Hara  

We know Parshwanath Upadhye as a Bharatanatyam soloist from Bangalore, who has trained in the Mysore style under Guru Ravindra Sharma and who continues advanced training under well-known dancers, Kiran Subramanyam and Sandhya Kiran. What we were not aware of is that he is a choreographer, and a brilliant one at that.

At Kartik Fine Arts, ‘Hara,’ by Parshwanath’s Punyah Dance Company, was a stunning 55-minute production that combined precision in dance movements, perfect timing, layered music, deft visualisation and effective lighting. In short, there was maximum effect with minimal fuss.

The story was an old one, of Siva, Sati and Parvathi. The vocabulary comprised Bharatanatyam steps executed with the agility and body discipline of Kalaripayattu, along with karanas and old drama traditions like the Yakshagana.

The production was not rich, but edgy. It was a stark production with sombre, cotton costumes in grey, maroon and black; it was also a dark production in a literal sense, meaning that the stage was never drenched with lights. Partial , indirect and mood lighting with smoke screens were the norms.

Body kinetics reigned supreme in the production. It was not only in the sharp and rigorous movements, but in the drama as well. When Sati dies, for example, Siva is seen carrying Sati’s body on an elevated platform at the back. This powerful visual was complemented by sad music.

Even the times when the dancers emote, say when Sati challenges her father angrily, it was not treated as an ‘abhinaya under the spotlights’ moment. It was rather taken as a wholesome view. There were many arresting moments — one was the beautiful soundscape and the vibrant dancing during the Siva-Sati interlude, when a Nandi chol was alternated with swara patterns; another was the scene when Parvathi becomes an ascetic, they show her removing her jewellery and taking a dip in the river, and the passage of time is shown by the other dancers through the water flowing, both performed at the same time.

The music was by G. Srikanth, music arrangement and rhythm Kartik Datar, lighting design by Vinay Chandra P. The dancers were: Parshwanath, Matangi Prasan , Shruti Upadhye, Sneha Devanandan ,Preethi Bharadwaj and Adithya PV.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 1:54:10 AM |

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