Krishna takes the centre stage

Jhelum Pranjape

Jhelum Pranjape  

Senior dancers and their disciples depicted the Lord as a lover, saviour and a poet’s favourite through different styles at the Kalasamarpanam festival in Mumbai

It was a confluence of three dance genres at the annual Kala Samarpanam festival hosted by Revathi Srinivasaraghavan at the Veer Savarkar Auditorium, Dadar.

Pushpanjali in Saraswati raga and Adi tala was the invocatory piece by Revathi Srinivasaraghavan, senior guru, researcher and performer.

Introduction to gatis, jathis and cross rhythmic structures through the piece’s music and choreography that adhered to the parampara of nritta and mridangam calculations was a treat for the visual and auditory senses. An added verse on Saraswati sought the blessings of the Goddess of knowledge.

Alaripu, set to Chatusra jati or the four-beat cycle, extended beyond the basic, challenging the dancer and the percussionist.

Pangs of separation

‘Nindati Chandana,’ the eighth Ashtapadi by Jayadeva, had a sakhi narrating the pangs of viraha felt by Radha in Sanskrit. Radha cannot take it anymore. The cool sandalwood paste is scorching her. The cool moonlight is not comforting either. The fragrance of sandalwood tree is poison. Fearing that the arrows of Manmatha that pierce her every bone and flesh may hurt Krishna who resides in her heart, she shields her bosom with moistened lotus leaves. Her enchantingly beautiful face looks as if eclipsed by Rahu. With tear-filled eyes she awaits the ecstasy of union with Krishna. Revathi with her skilful abhinaya brought out the ultimate philosophy of the eternal search of the jivatma for the paramatma, the be all and end all of human existence.

After sringara rasa, it was time to decode Bhakti. Revathi presented ‘Abir Gulal,’ a Marathi abhang by Sant Chokha Mela. Being from a lower caste, he is content with standing at the threshold, transfixed singing the glory of the Lord. Chokha says all devotees who throng to Pandarpur are in a trance. This abhang was well-emoted by Revathi.

In the concluding Tillana in Mohanakalyani composed by Lalgudi Jayaraman, the mei adavus and the jaati korvai used the various techniques ascribed in DasaPrana tala. The rhythmic intricacies for this piece were set by mridangam artiste Satish Krishnamurthy.

Meenu Thakur, Kuchipudi performer from Delhi, opened her concert with a Ganesha stuti in Hamsadhwani raga.

Her next piece ‘Bhamakalapam’ was all about Satyabhama. Praveshadaru underlined her confidence as the favourite of Lord Krishna. In her conversation with her sakhi Madhavi, she describes the beauty of Lord Krishna. Struck by cupid’s arrow, Satyabhama blushes and pines for her lover. Set in ragamalika and talamalika, ‘Bhamakalapam’ was presented by Meenu with clarity and suitable bhava.

The traditional Tarangam from Narayana Tirtha’s Krishna Leela Tarangini in Arabhi raga and Adi tala was a display of technique and footwork. The much-awaited finale of Kuchipudi repertoire, dancing on the rim of brass plate described the beauty of Krishna’s pithambar and nupur studded with precious gems.

Jhelum Paranjape, Odissi exponent with her two disciples presented a neatly structured repertoire. Rupali Kadam and Sumedh Pawar began with Ganesh Vandana, choreographed by Ratikant Mohapatra.

Jhelum portrayed the fear and helplessness of Draupadi when she was dragged into the court by Dushasan. She questions Yudhishtir for losing her to Kauravas in the game of dice. Even Bheem who loves her the most hung his head in shame. She questions the all-knowing Krishna, the Lord of the universe as to why He did not annihilate the evil Shakuni with his chakra. “Did you plan this series of events, from my marriage, to this game of dice?” she asks. Being disrobed, she pleads with Krishna to protect her and the Lord comes to her rescue. The choreography by Pankaj Charan Das was delineated with sensitivity.

Fluid and graceful

Pallavi, the pure dance piece, a duet by Rupali and Sumedh brought out the in-built grace and fluidity of the Odissi format. Setting the tempo with free flowing movement of eyes, neck and body, interspersed with graceful poses, the Pallavi gathers momentum culminating in a crescendo of intricate footwork and body kinetics.

The essence of Kalavathi raga blending with the melodious music of Jateen Kumar Sahu embellished the lyrics. The disciples did ample justice to the interesting choreography of their guru Jhelum that juxtaposed stillness and movement.

In ‘Bhakti’, an abhinaya piece based on Chokha Mela’s abhang, was a solo spiritual journey by Jhelum. Though the concept of Chokha Mela was repeated in Bharatanatyam and Odissi, it was interesting to watch two different perceptions.

Chokha, a saint poet of Maharashtra in the 14th Century, staunch devotee of Vithala, was ostracised for being an “untouchable” in that era. Assigned to clean the temple premises, Chokha sang Vithala’s praise drawing the visiting devotees towards him. Angered by his popularity, the temple authorities beat him up and threw him into the Chandrabhaga river. The Lord beckoned; Chokha walked across the river; reached the sanctum and embraced Lord Vithala, who was waiting for him. The music set by Manoj Desai and choreography by Jhelum was an arresting amalgamation of the simple and the Supreme.

The concluding ‘Moksha’ presented by all three was fast-paced with requisite poses. With the cosmic sound of ‘OM,’ the dance dissolved into quietude. “Moksha symbolises the oneness of the atma with the paramatma, the soul with the universe, the devotee with the Lord, the dancer with the dance,” said Jhelum.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 6:42:43 PM |

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