Dance

‘Panchopasana’: A well-knit production

Revathy Srinivasaraghavan’s ‘Panchopasana’ combined bhakti literature and abstract concepts

Panchopasana, Revathy Srinivasaraghavan’s thematic dance production, was hosted by Mulund Fine Arts Society as part of their Golden Jubilee celebrations, at the Mahakavi Kalidas Auditorium, Mulund. The concept was based on Adi Sankaracharya’s definition of Upasana as meditation about ‘someone or something.’

Five concepts from devotional literature on deities and abstract ideas were deployed as inspiration for five segments knit together through music and dance to create a cohesive presentation.

The presentation opened with Swara Laya, a set of swaras in Brindavana Saranga, in vilambam, madhyamam and dhrutam of chatusra and tisra nadai.

The swara laya, interspersed with konnakol, describing Lord Siva and his attributes, was composed and recited by Satish Krishnamurthy. This was followed by Rudram Chamakam and a vibrant Tandav, alternating with graceful lasya.

Students of Revathy Srinivasaraghavan

Students of Revathy Srinivasaraghavan  

‘Aagasa Lingam,’ a kriti on Siva composed by Ulundurpettai Shanmugam, pictured the splendid Ananda Tandavam of the celestial dancer at Chidambaram. With the demon representing ignorance under his feet, the fire in his hand to destroy evil, the drum in his hand indicating origin of life, the raised hand to show him as the saviour, the corona arch on the back signifying the cosmos, the Nataraja Murti, is a symbolic representation of the five dimensions of the Lord. The dancing form, the sanctum, the mere space which represents Nirguna Brahman, devoid of all names and forms, were all graphically depicted by Revathi.

Revathi Srinivasaraghavan

Revathi Srinivasaraghavan  

Extolling Tamil as one of the finest and oldest surviving classical languages, poems from Tamil literature were chosen to explore and express the Ultimate Truth.

Homage to the Trinity

‘Pachhai mamalai’ and ‘Oorilen kaani illai’ in Bowli, set to Adi talam, selected from Divya Prabandam was followed by Thevaram ‘Todudaya’ in Gambhira Naatai and Khanda nadai and ‘Vaananai’ in Kiravani set to Mishra chapu. Next came a Tiruppavai, ‘Margazhi Thingal,’ in Ragam Naatai, taalam Aadi. All these were presented by Revathi’s disciples with neat coordination and grace, highlighting the devotional element. Revathi joined in for ‘Muthaitharu,’ an energetic Tiruppugazh in Shanmukhapriya, Misra chapu. The Tamil segment concluded with a sprightly namasankeertanam medley which would have fitted better in the final segment.

The next piece was dedicated to the artistic excellence of the Carnatic Trinity. With humble devotion and honed traditional movements, Revathi did full justice to the works of the composers by presenting Syama Sastri’s ‘Kamakshi,’ Bhairavi Swarajati and Tyagaraja’s ‘Endaro Mahanubhavulu’ in Sri ragam, through comprehensive choreography and compact presentation. Dikshitar’s ‘Anandamritakarshini,’ presented in group, had interesting images of rain and poses of Shive, Bhavani. Continuing the spirit of Tamil pride, episodes from Kamba Ramayanam were presented by the senior disciples.

“Encouraged by positive reviews, we are presenting a few excerpts from the ballet we performed at Karaikudi Kamban Vizha,” said Revathi.

Students of Revathy Srinivasaraghavan

Students of Revathy Srinivasaraghavan  

Keeping the storyline intact, Tataka Vadham, celebrations at Mithila on the arrival of Rama and Lakshmana, Sita Swayamvar, Maya of Maricha, Sita Apaharan, Jatayu Moksham and the victory over Ravana were the selected episodes, concluding with Rama Pattabhishekam.

While singer Kaushik Champakesan was in his element in the musical sections composed by Satish Krishnamurthy, Guru Revathi wielded the cymbals, and joined the group as a convincing Ravana.

The final upasana was to the saint composers across our Nation who propagated the essence of bhakti and celebrated their chosen deity.

Be it the Thevarams of the Tamil Trinity, the Paasurams of Azhwars, Ashtapadis of Jayadeva, Vachana, keertanas of Purandaradasa and Annamacharya, Abhangs of saint poets of Maharashtra or the bhajans of Mira and Kabir, devotional music is an inherent part of Indian life.

The interesting medley of songs such as as Annamayya's ‘Sriman Narayana’ in Bowli, Oothukadu Venkata Kavi’s ‘Kannan Varugindra Neram’ in Chenjurutti, Purandaradasa’s ‘Brindavanadolu’ in Shanmukhapriya and Swati Tirunal’s ‘Gopalaka Pahimam’ in Bhupalam, were presented in groups. The garuda gamana formation was visually appealing.

Sant Tukaram’s ‘Sundar te dhyan’ in Yaman set to Bhajani Theka taalam, was presented solo by Revathi. ‘Gopi Gopala’ composed by Surdas in Gamanashrama set to Tisra nadai was lively and had the audience joining in with claps. A novel Jugalbandi of Bharatanatyam footwork with mridangam composed and set by mridgangist Satish Krishnamurthy, who also handled the ganjira, was dynamic. The guru on one side and the disciples on the other were well-synchronised and forceful.

Mahakavi Bharatiyar’s ‘Vande Mataram’ in Ragamaalika, Chatusra Eka talam was a befitting finale.

B. Anantharaman on the violin and Sanjay on the flute took turns in setting the mood for the pieces.

Not moving away from the traditional format, the peppy kolaattam, use of Kartaal, the neat Ahaarya both stitched and improvised and the mridangist joining the singer at times to create a chorus effect were some of the highlights of Panchopasana.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 6:28:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/panchopasana-a-well-knit-production/article31057708.ece

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