Dance

To teacher, with love

What better way to pay respects to a departed guru, than host an event in her name? Keerthana Ravi of RasaBodhi Arts Foundation, disciple of Padmini Ramchandran, hosted the first edition of ‘Padmini,’ at the Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi.

The evening began with Purushantargatah, a thematic Bharatanatyam by Mithun Shyam, senior disciple of Padmini, exploring gender fluidity and alternate sexuality through mythological references and temple legends.

“I want to do away with stereotypes of how a man should be. Practices such as a girl child using pink and the boy blue, sets the first step of discrimination,” said Mithun Shyam.

Mithun showed an integration of both genders, Prakruti and Purusha, within an individual

Mithun showed an integration of both genders, Prakruti and Purusha, within an individual  

Mithun showed an integration of both genders, Prakruti and Purusha, within an individual. Angered by Krishna’s insensitive behaviour, harassing the gopis who plead Him for their clothes, Radha forces him to wear woman’s clothes and jewellery.

Mithun was inventive in pulling up a tight blouse sleeves, donning pieces of jewellery, applying kohl in the eyes, with typical feminine mannerisms and poise. Perfect arai mandi and tribanghi to show an altered Krishna, provided visual satisfaction.

Vishnu as Mohini

The next brief section showed Vishnu transformed as Mohini, captivating Siva with her beauty, for the birth of Hariharan. Various Siva stances were portrayed with stately deportment.

The final story was of Thayumaanavar, of Tiruchi, transforming into a tending mother for a poor woman’s delivery, when her own mother could not reach due to heavy rains and stormy weather. Siva showing concern for the devotee, boiling the water (which Siva sources from Ganges on His head and fire, to light the stove, coming from His third eye), sponging the sweaty girl, guiding the girl’s breathing, aiding in the delivery process were all depicted in graphic detail.

The process of labour, though shown with Mithun sitting in reverse, could have been handled in an aesthetic manner to avoid awkwardness.

Enjoyable pre-recorded music, composed by Praveen Rao and lyrics by Arjun Bharadwaj, intercepted with vedic chants, was communicative and comforting.

On Ashtanayikas

Ashtaleela, an interpretation of Ashtanayikas by Prachi Saathi, as described by her, is a ‘Labour of Love.’ Ashtaleela was about the unfathomable dark Lord.

“Eight gopikas as eight nayikas, caught in the whirlpool of romance, classified on the basis of their avasthaa, (conditions in love) as enumerated by Bharatamuni in Natyasastra is the central idea around which I have woven a story, set in the backdrop of a moonlit autumn night, on the banks of river Yamuna,” says Prachi.

Ashtaleela, an interpretation of Ashtanayikas, the eight romantic archetypes of women by Prachi Saathi

Ashtaleela, an interpretation of Ashtanayikas, the eight romantic archetypes of women by Prachi Saathi  

The first nayika is dressing up both self and home and Ashtaleela begins on a joyous note. The next nayika is pining for Krishna in deep Viraha. ‘Mere vas hai giridhar’ is the confidence of the third who has Krishna under her subjugation while the fourth regrets quarrelling with him.

The fifth Khandita Nayika chides him for infidelity. The sixth Vipralabdha Nayika is upset (Hari darsan ki pyasi) as he does not come despite promises. The Prositabhartrka Nayika feels neglected by a nayaka, who is ever engaged, and shows her anguish by abandoning ornaments and dishevelled hair. The Abhisarika Nayika is unabashed and goes out to meet her Nayaka, discarding decorum and discretion.

The final raas mandal where Krishna consoles and cajoles each of them was lively.

“I am inspired by the concepts and choreography of Rama Vaidyanathan. She motivated and mentored me,” acknowledges Prachi.

Guidance by Rama’s orchestra, relevant ragams, Surdas lyrics, jatis, swaras, taanams and special sound effects and brilliant recording by Sai Shravanam made for a complete musical package.

Steeped in bhakti

‘Marma,’ was a thematic vocal concert by Chandana Bala Kalyan, with Vinayak Netke on the tabla and Manoj Desai on the Harmonium. Endowed with a silky voice that effortlessly ranges in high octaves, Chandana’s rendition was steeped in bhakti.

‘Marma,’ a confluence of bhakti poetry was the thematic vocal concert by Chandana Bala Kalyan

‘Marma,’ a confluence of bhakti poetry was the thematic vocal concert by Chandana Bala Kalyan  

‘Bhagawant vadeeya charane’ invoked the blessings of the Lord in raga Bhatiyar.

‘Gama wala charkha,’ a composition of Bulleh Shah combined with Kabir’s ‘Jheeni jheeni’ in Charukesi filled the hall with spiritual waves. Chaap Tilak, a Qawwali in Yaman reiterated the mystical melodic ambience.

In ‘Gee gee pada,’ a Purandaradasa composition, Chandana was in her element. ‘Krishna bhaje man Krishna,’ composed by Vinayak Netke was the end piece that left the audience wanting for more, though it was 11 p.m.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 5:23:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/in-memory-of-padmini-ramchandran/article25389219.ece

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