ABHAI’s ‘Pravasi Utsavam’ offered rich experience

Jyotsna Vaidee ( USA ), performing at Pravasi Utsavam, at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, in Chennai.

Jyotsna Vaidee ( USA ), performing at Pravasi Utsavam, at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, in Chennai.   | Photo Credit: R_RAVINDRAN

It featured Ratna Kumar’s exquisite abhinaya and performances by talented young dancers

Revisiting what one learnt in one’s youth can be exciting. Ratna Kumar’s exclusive abhinaya performance for ABHAI’s Pravasi Utsavam offered such an experience. As a tribute to her mother and guru, who initiated and nurtured her in the journey of art, Ratna chose to perform four rare and old compositions.

An Arutpa in praise of Lord Ganesha was a reposeful prayer before the Annamacharya song ‘Nakun cheppare valapu Nalupo telupo’ in raga Vagadeeshwari, which depicted the state of mind of a simple and naive nayika, who wants to know whether love is black or white, was performed. The dilemma of the woman was conveyed beautifully by Ratna through facial expressions. Poetic references to the sun, moon, sandalwood, milk, honey, birds and bees filled the imagery, that communicated the essence of the song.

“Family members are nearby and the bright moonlight exposes us to the smirks and glances of people who pass by our house. Is this then, the right time and place my Lord, for you to make romantic overtures,’’ says the nayika in the Poochi Srinivasa Aiyangar Kapi raga Javali ‘Sarasamuladetenduku’. Colouring the Javali she learnt from Mylapore Gowri Ammal as a 13-year old with layers of ideas assimilated through years of experience, Ratna captured the nayika’s feelings with conviction. From showing the happiness that the heroine experiences with the attention she gets from her Lord, to the expressions of distress at the external attention that the action gets, the dancer immersed herself totally in the character being portrayed. Rushing out blushing after she gets a peck on her cheek was a delightful finale to the song.

‘Yela vachitivi’ in raga Navroz and ‘Lepanaina Lepalede - Yashodara Vilapam’ which was a poignant representation of Yashodara’s plight after Gautama deserts her were sensitively portrayed by the artiste. The impact of the abhinaya session was enhanced manifold by the young vocalist Mruduravali’s singing.

Understanding the subtle nuances and feelings of each song, the evocative singing added to the visual expression and for the rasikas, it was pure rasanubhava. N. K. Kesavan on the mridangam and Muthukumar on flute enriched the show with their accompaniment.

Earlier in the evening Jyotsana Vaidee, a disciple of Prof. C.V. Chandrasekar began her performance with a Mallari marked by fine footwork and postures. An ardhanariswaram slokam that followed was poetic in expression with the dancer moving from lasya to tandava, srishti to samhara in an aesthetic manner with subtle gestures and expressions depicting the narrative elements.

The Ashtapadi ‘Yaahi Madhava’ in raga Sindhubhairavi, depicting Radha’s anger and anguish at Krishna’s wily ways, as visualised by the dancer, was akin to a uttama nayika. The feelings of love, anger and dejection were expressed by the dancer in a refined manner, without any exaggerated show of emotions or movements.

Crisp rhythmic footwork

Jyotsana’s performance was followed by Ruta Uttarkar’s recital. A student of Ratna Kumar, she began with a Marathi prayer in praise of Lord Ganesha. The descriptions of the elephant head, the comical representation of Ganesha moving on the mooshika, stories of his life combined with crisp rhythmic footwork, held attention.

The Lalgudi Jayaraman varnam ‘Angayayarkanni’ was the main song. The narrative woven around the attributes of Devi gave scope for the dancer to display her nritta and abhinaya skills. Brief sancharis to showcase episodes such as the burning of Kama, Markandeya and Neelkanta added interest. She needs to infuse little more grace into her movements.

This festival brings talented NRI dancers to Chennai.

(More reviews next week)

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 2:36:14 AM |

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