Dauntless dedication and diligence is a sure sign to success in any field and if it is spiced with passion, it is bound to catapult the person to fame and name in no time! Vinod Kevin Bachan has come a long way if his recent solo show is anything to go by. He has imbibed the grace of Odissi while rising above the danger of drifting into the effeminate. Unhurried footwork and body movements, the right emotive quotient that is natural, artistic and free from being hyperbolic, he is blessed with a stage presence that can hold the audience till the end.
The theme titled ‘Nayika ke Manobhaav’ is a tough nut to crack, more so for a male dancer. It had to show shades of bhaav (emotions) of the principal character of the lyric – a woman. The artiste did good to embed these qualities within the fabric of traditional repertoire which would lend the air of authenticity to his presentation as well as allowed him to emote the various moods with freedom of expression. Following the tradition goes, his started with mangalacharan, ‘Kadachit Kalindi, paying respect to the presiding deity Puri Jagannath, invoking the lord for divine blessing.
Among the pieces he chose to perform the ‘Vishweshwar darshan ko chalo mann Kashi’, though crisp compared to others, was a brilliant exposition of dance and mime. The vigour of the footwork seemed to fall in line with the persona and energy of this artiste. The smearing of ash over Vishwanath was pictured through varying abhinaya. To prove a point, the Abhisarika nayika (beloved on a rendezvous) coming immediately after the rigour of Shiva nritta established Kevin’s credentials at Odissi’s mainstay- shringara!
Lyrically, the Vidyapathi composition ably choreographed by guru Ranjana Gauhar was of high quality and the dancer did full justice to its content, conjuring up the abhisarika with surreptitious looks and gingerly gait, getting ready to meet her beloved under cover of the darkness of the night.
Emulating a narcissistic heroine assuring herself of her looks with glance into the mirror every now and then, the artiste made his body language speak the rest of the song where the nayika is oscillating between desire and fear, freedom and fetters of social stigma if caught red-handed and so on. The wrap up to a crescendo and the lull thereafter gave a desired effect to the entire piece. The pallavi in Saveri was again a show in nritta (pure dance with Odissi technique) with the pivot on the heroine again. His unruffled gait and nritta through the three cycles of speed was in keeping with the classicism required.
These three pieces were enough to establish Kevin’s hold over his medium. The restraint while doing female-oriented mime and song is very necessary for a male dancer, especially in Odissi where body kinetics demand a different dimension. Kudos to Kevin on that score. Also, Odissi being danced to Hindi lyrics was refreshing.
The live orchestra with guru Ranjana on the taal was an asset to the performance which was held under the aegis of Utsav at India Habitat Centre here.