Kuchipudi Dance

The intriguing devotion of Rukmini

Divine union Glimpses from ‘Rukmini Krishna’ By arrangement

Divine union Glimpses from ‘Rukmini Krishna’ By arrangement  

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Kuchipudi danseuse Deepika Reddy’s show ‘Rukmini Krishna’ poignantly mirrored Rukmini’s unflinching admiration for Krishna

There’s innate poetry in the way the entire Rukmini Kalyanam episode pans out, with Rukmini being charmed by Lord Krishna merely by what she hears about him and doesn’t even feel the need to meet him, before expressing her interest to become one with him. When the episode is seen through the eyes of Rukmini and how she tackles the ultimate conflict with her brother Rukmi and Sisupala through the Kuchipudi form, a viewer could experience an interesting dimension of devotion and admiration explored on the stage.

Kuchipudi dancer Deepika Reddy, through the dance drama Rukmini Krishna, effectively traversed the journey of the female mythological character in a performance organised at Ravindra Bharathi in Hyderabad recently. To Rambhatla Narasimha Sarma’s crisp Telugu script that was relatable and scholarly at the same time, Dandibhotla Srinivasa Venkata Sastri’s lilting compositions beautifully aligned to the Kuchipudi form by dancer, choreographer Deepika Reddy ensured a visually pleasing show that lasted for two hours.

The authority with which the danseuse brought forth the legacy of Rukmini, addressing her qualities and familial roots through her ‘pravesa daruvu’ was a stellar sight that set the tone of the narrative. The lead up to Krishna’s episode with a series of cows, where two dancers each were conjoined with a mask to resemble the four-legged creature was a glimpse of the level of authenticity that the dance drama maintained throughout. The symmetry and aesthetics of the choreography of the episodes revolving around the gopikas added sheen to the show.

The brief introduction of Krishna also took note of Kamsa’s vanquishing, thereby establishing the context for the later part of the story. The portions where Rukmini’s unblemished devotion towards Krishna blossoms into love were among the memorable segments of the show. The coy expressions, the shy conversations Rukmini has with her female companions about Krishna beautifully explored the femininity of the character. The subsequent conflict with her brother Rukmi, and later Sisupala lent enough intrigue and tension to the drama. Despite the sincerity in the abhinaya, the episode where Rukmini writes a letter to Krishna describing her plight and pain didn’t carry the emotional charge it deserved to. Just the time when one felt the drama appeared to be losing its bite, the presence of the priest who performs the Gowri Puja and the return of Narada livened up the proceedings. The vigour in the drama was felt during the Gowri Puja episode, where Krishna takes Rukmini by his side, after vanquishing Rukmi and Shishupala respectively. The victory of good over evil is always the most empowering element of a mythological dance drama and the swift choreography ensured a seamless flow of movements between the characters in the battle.

The ending with the Rukmini Kalyanam rung in a festive atmosphere on the stage, the folksy moves aptly reflecting the celebratory mood of the commoners in the kingdoms of both Rukmini and Krishna.

Deepika Reddy and her student Mihira Pathuri had done everything to resemble a much-in-love Rukmini and Krishna in their final act. The light play, monumental set designs and props had enhanced the impact of dance drama. The aesthetics had considerably overshadowed the emotional aspect of the performance while one wished the key sequences in the narrative were more imaginatively visualised.

Lyricist Sirivennela Seetaramasastry, politician Kalvakuntla Kavitha and businessperson Jupally Rameswar Rao were among a few guests who had graced the event.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 4:36:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/the-intriguing-devotion-of-rukmini/article30360306.ece

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