A Kuchipudi performance that explores the concept of unity

Set to Kuchipudi, Raja Reddy’s “Bharata Bharathi” explored the idea of unity in diversity

September 05, 2019 07:52 pm | Updated September 06, 2019 02:10 pm IST

Scintillating performance: Yamini and Bhavana Reddy

Scintillating performance: Yamini and Bhavana Reddy

The Parampara series this year opened with its home production, “Bharata Bharathi”, a contemporary, issue-based theme on unity in diversity in Bharat (India) from time immemorial. The beauty of any production under the aegis of guru Raja Reddy is that it is bedecked with classical elements to the core. “Bharata Bharathi” set to Kuchipudi by the pupils of Natya Tarangini (Raja-Radha Reddy’s dance institute) was one such.

Sacred space

As is the practice, the stage opens to a young priest-styled dancer with a small brass pot of water and a few mango leaves sprinkling the stage while she dances to a song in imitation of purification of the sacred space called stage. This is followed by a group of dancers who are supposed to further sanctify the platform for the play to start – all a part of Natya Shastra's stipulations. The audience is then welcomed through song and dance.

After this artistic ritual, the actual theme comes into being. To a beautiful lit stage, enter dancers in twos taking their places on stage and as the spotlight falls on each, the duo emulates the various creeds that has come to stay in this land called India. At the very outset, the choreographer makes his intentions clear- there is no place for divisive forces in the name of creed.

Without dwelling too much on this delicate subject, the narrative moves on to geographical mapping- the rivers from Ganga to Cauvery that have been venerated and that have provided succour to mankind till date. The movement of dancers representing the flowing rivers and the patterns into which they fall as they exchange places was a pleasure to watch.

Guru Raja Reddy’s productions make a stunning impact due to two main reasons: strict adherence to taal which is so evident with each and every dancer’s feet on stage to even a casual observer and absolute synchronisation among the artistes, not just in movements and gestures but even in the eye and facial expressions.

The gurus themselves appear on stage at an appropriate time, much to the delight of their ardent admirers and audience. The song takes us through the eulogy of Bharat as a land of classical arts which have established an identity of the country. And then it goes on to show the crux of the art form-abhinaya and the Ardhanareeswar that stands for tandava and lasya expression in dance.

This was a brilliant exposition by Yamini and Bhavana, as Shiva and Shakti, torch-bearers of tandav (masculine) and lasya (feminine). Bhavana’s lasya with its dramatic taal was excellent. Yamini was equally forceful with her footwork as Shiva but she should pay a little more attention to her hasta mudras, especially during speedy rendition.

Amazing agility

Radha-Raja Reddy

Radha-Raja Reddy

Radha and Raja Reddy’s expressive abhinaya in interpreting the navarasa (nine artistic moods) was the icing on the cake. Radha’s agility is amazing. The live orchestra, as usual, was an asset to this presentation. Guru Kaushalya Reddy on the nattuvangam was compelling as were the opening notes of the veena by Syamala Bhaskar which floated through the Kamani auditorium that played host to this fest.

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