The Music Academy Dance

A refreshing narrative

Mohiniyattom exponent Neen Prasad performing at the Music Academy

Mohiniyattom exponent Neen Prasad performing at the Music Academy   | Photo Credit: M_Karunakaran

A gamut of emotions unfolded at Neena Prasad’s Mohiniyattom performance

There are those rare moments in dance performances when the persona of the dancer gets relegated to the background and artistic communication comes to the fore. Neena Prasad’s performance was one such, where the sheer artistic brilliance kept the rasikas engrossed.

Moving away from the routine depiction of pining nayikas, stories of gods and goddesses, Neena’s choice of Kunti, the mother of Karna and the Pandavas as the central character, in the varnam was refreshing. The story of the young girl getting a boon, playfully experimenting with it that results in Suryadev’s appearance and birth of a child, realisation of the gravity of the situation as an unwed mother and her giving up on the child and the dilemma that she faces, torn between her sons — Pandavas and Karna — in the war, formed the narrative.

Composed by Sreepadam Easwaran Namboodri, the choice of raga Pantuvarali was appropriate for the bhava depicted.

A gamut of emotions — the innocence of a playful young girl, her naivety in testing the boon, her first flush of romance, feeling the blade of the sword for sharpness, the depiction of childbirth and Kunti’s plight — unfolded with finesse . When an artiste is able to translate the story visually, as Neena did, the characters portrayed leave a lasting impression on the rasikas.

The nritta segments with its varied rhythmic patterns were so beautifully intertwined to the sahitya sections, that each flowed from one to another seamlessly.

Graceful adavus

Earlier on, the cholkettu in Dhanyasi raga and Khanda jati Triputa tala composed by Madhavan Namboodri as the introductory composition, highlighted the graceful adavus and fluidity of the style. The Swati Tirunal kriti ‘Narasimha Mamava’ in raga Arabhi brought out the majesty and fiery form of Narasimha.

‘Sakhi He Kesi,’ the ashtapadi in Charukesi suited the dance form. Radha’s bashfulness when the sakhi grabs her hand, her subtle glances when calling out to Krishna to come to her, her reliving the memorable moments spent with him were some of the highlights of the performance. The thillana in Madhyamavati was a fitting finale to the aesthetic presentation.

Changanassery Madhavan Namboodri’s sensitive singing enhanced the appeal of the performance.

Ramesh Babu (mridangam), Easwar Ramakrishnan (violin), Trichur Murali Krishnan (veena), Kalamandalam Arun Das (edakka) and Rithu Prakash (nattuvangam) were part of the orchestral team that provided melodic support.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 8:03:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/neena-prasad-impresses-in-every-way/article22464321.ece

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