Proficiency on display

Bharati Shivaji performing at Kerala Kalamandalam

Bharati Shivaji performing at Kerala Kalamandalam   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Bharati Shivaji’s Mohiniyattam performance in Thrissur stood out for its aesthetic appeal

Two solo numbers that Bharati Shivaji staged at Kerala Kalamandalam recently exhibited the intrinsic charm of Mohiniyattam. She began the performance with ‘Ganapathy’, the first among the several compositions on the deity by Kavalam Narayana Panicker with whom she has had a long association.

The number in Arabhi and Adi opened with extended vaytharis. The hallmark of Kavalam’s composition is the abundance of vaytharis sandwiched between the charanams, which the dancer could exploit, thereby enriching the nritta elements. That they are rendered in the same raga is another feature.

Nuanced performance

Adavus, noted for their flowing style, and chuzhippus enhanced the nritta. The poetic beauty of the description of Ganapathy and his seat along with the mooshika (the mouse) were vivid, with Bharati paying attention to minute details. One could virtually feel the presence of Ganapathy on the seat as she folded her hands in obeisance, standing from a distance. She could create the ambience of waking up Ganapathy through her histrionics. Invocation to Siva and Saraswathy was also well portrayed.

The sixth Ashtapathi seemed an index of her choreographic ingenuity. The virutham, beginning with ‘Nibrutha nikunja gruham’, was followed by vaytharis. ‘Sakhi hey, Kesimadhana mudaram’ received an alluring portrayal in which Radha explained to Sakhi the romantic overtures she had with Krishna.

A break with beats of edakka for nritta appeared enticing. The dynamic movements of the head to both sides (dhuta asthira sira) added to the grace of the performance. The number gave enough scope for abhinaya as well. She presented all the eight padams, ending with ‘Sree Jayadeva bhanithamida’. While the first part was in Kamboji, the latter in Dwijavanthi was rendered in the typical Sopana style as sung in the Guruvayur temple.

Bharati’s disciple Vinaya Narayanan performed the Swathi padam in Kedaram, ‘Ramyanayoru purushan’. The dancer narrated the dream in which the heroine had an unknown visitor. In her attempt to identify him, she is finally convinced that it was none other than Padmanabha. She effectively portrayed the different characters that she had mistaken for Padmanabha.

Manjula Murthy, also a disciple of Bharati, joined Vinaya in presenting ‘Thourathrika’, a combination of geetha, vadya and nritta, which was choreographed as a string of indigenous rhythms (sopana) coined by the late percussion maestro Pallavur Appu Marar. Composed in Bilahari and Bhoopalam, the dancers demonstrated the beauty of the myriad adavus, jointly and separately, peculiar to the Bharati school. An abrupt stop of the beats of edakka in between heightened the grace of the number.

The performance was organised by Kalamandalam in connection with the release of Bharati’s latest book, Mohiniyattam: Its Aesthetics and Art.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 10:51:31 AM |

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