Dance

‘Pratibodhana’ by Rama Vaidyanathan explored realism and romance

Rama Vaidyanathan and group performing for a Thiruvembavai verse.

Rama Vaidyanathan and group performing for a Thiruvembavai verse. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Rama Vaidyanathan’s group production ‘Pratibodhana’ – An Awakening’ was not just an awakening from sleep to wakefulness, it was an awakening from the slumber of ignorance to divine knowledge and deliverance (moksha).

The choreography stood out for picturesque formations, interesting jathi patterns, and subtle but beautiful abhinaya. Organised by Sanathana Natyalaya and Nrityangan at Don Bosco Hall, Mangaluru, the production appropriately began with songs from Manickavachagar’s ‘Thiruvembavai’ — ‘Annae, Ivaiyum Silavo’ and ‘Kozhi Silamba Silambum’. The friends of the nayika go to her house to wake her up — she is fast asleep, conveniently forgetting the promises she made the previous day. They remind her that she was ready to melt like the wax in the fire, just at the mention of the Lord’s name (thennaa ennaa munnam thee saer mezhugoppaay), and now is in deep slumber. They chastise her lethargy and ask her what kind of sleep is that (vaazhi eedhenna urakkamo).

Then came a shabdam presented by Shubhamani Chandrashekhar — ‘Thillai ambalam thannilae nadam seidhidum Natarajan’. The yearning of the lovelorn nayika for the lord she saw in her dreams was beautifully brought out by the graceful dancer.

Spirit of Kashi

Swati Tirunal’s ‘Visweswara darsan kar’ was chosen for a group presentation. It depicted the sights and sounds of Kashi, where death and life co-exist, and the mind becomes mature enough to accept things as they are. One side of the stage was filled with fervent worshippers while the other was occupied by bereaved people lamenting their dead, and getting ready for the cremation.

Rama Vaidyanathan’s group presentation “Pratibodhana’.

Rama Vaidyanathan’s group presentation “Pratibodhana’. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The fourth part of the production brought to life, a specially scripted Sanskrit poem, based on Guru Nanak’s 10 stages of life. Rama depicted these stages with her exquisite abhinaya — an infant’s love for the mother’s milk, his desire for eating, friends, love interest, earning money, keeping it safe, worrying about the departing youth, the desperation to hold on to it and finally, the escape of the breath from the body. It was presented as if an embryo was the narrator, who finally expresses a desire to never enter all these cycles once again.

The fifth and final part was a group presentation, ‘Shivoham’, where the ‘I’ merges into ‘Shiva’ and becomes ‘Him’. After all, that is the real ‘Pratibodhana’.

Sayani Chakroborty, Kavya Ganesh, Pritam Das, Reshika Shivakumar, and Vaishnavi beautifully blended into the presentation with appropriate footwork and abhinaya.

The costumes were subtle green Mangalagiri as well as bright white and red silk, depending on the mood of the piece.

The recorded music comprising Sudha Raghuraman (vocal support), Sumod Sreedharan (mridangam), R. Raghuraman ( flute), and Vijay Sivanand (violin) greatly enhanced the experience.

The writer specialises in classical arts.


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Printable version | Jun 10, 2022 1:55:05 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/pratibodhana-by-rama-vaidyanathan-explored-realism-and-romance/article65464270.ece