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Dance of the divine

Shafeekudeen and Shabaana

Shafeekudeen and Shabaana   | Photo Credit: KK Najeeb

Artistes performed different classical dance forms as part of the Sivaratri festival in Thrissur

A wealth of young talents from across the country exhibited their artistry at the nine-day Sivaratri festival at Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur.

The festival opened with a Bharatanatyam recital by Shafeekudeen and Shabaana. Following a short depiction of Sankaracharya’s ‘Viswanatha ashtakam’, the dancers presented ‘Natanamaadinar’, the composition of Gopalakrishna Bharathiyar in Vasantha and Adi. The blissful dance of Siva in Chidambaram, on request by sages, was the leitmotif. While Shafeekudeen’s adavus were noted for their masculine appeal, Shabaana exuded an intrinsic feminine charm.

The Atana varnam ‘Ninne nammi naanura Krishna’ had well-balanced nritta and nruthya. The composition of Turaiyur Rajagopala Sharma was replete with anecdotes of Krishna’s life, including his childhood antics. ‘Aliveni enthu cheyvu’, the noted padam of Swathi Thirunal, was a solo by Shabaana. The performance concluded with ‘Adum padanai anudinam’, a composition of Ambujam Krishna in Latangi. A solo by Shafeekudeen witnessed a variety of striking postures of Nataraja.

Rich in lasya

RLV Ramakrishnan

RLV Ramakrishnan   | Photo Credit: KK Najeeb

Flowing movements intrinsic to Mohiniyattam were discernible in ‘Ananda Ganapathi’ with which RLV Ramakrishnan commenced his one-hour recital. The composition of Kavalam Narayana Panicker in Puranir focussed on Ganesha. Ramakrishnan’s terpsichorean talents were rich in lasya. He performed the jathis and vaytharis distinctive to the Kavalam style with élan. Sankaracharya’s Panchakshari sthothram, beginning with ‘Nagendra haraya’ in Ragamalika, had a vivid narration for each line.

The two numbers that followed were full of bhakthi. ‘Varukalamo ayya’ in Manji from Nandanar Charitam was touching. He ably portrayed the harassment Nandanar had to face at the hands of the landlord, the mood of supplication and Nandanar’s inexplicable joy over having darshan of the diety. His abhinaya soared in ‘Pibare Ramarasam’ in Ahir Bhairavi. The sancharis selected were appropriate and they included anecdotes highlighting the devotion of Valmiki, Jatayu and Hanuman.

Vindhuja Menon and her daughter Neha Rajesh

Vindhuja Menon and her daughter Neha Rajesh   | Photo Credit: KK Najeeb

Vindhuja Menon and her daughter, Neha Rajesh, opened their Bharatanatyam performance with ‘Siva shakthi’ anchored on the concept of ardhanareeswara. Vindhuja’s nritta was noted for ‘angasudha’. The piece concluded with the dancers paying obeisance to Nataraja. ‘Nandi chol’ was noteworthy on account of the mridangam syllables and adavus. The dance number concluded with the Nandi mantra, ‘Om Nandikeswaraya Nama’.

A Kuchipudi tarangam presented by the duo to ‘Neelavarna pahimam’, a composition of Irayimman Thampi in Surutti, was interesting. It provided ample opportunities for the dancers to exhibit their competence in abhinaya and nritta. Interestingly, the roles of mother and child were reversed as Vindhuja donned the role of Krishna and Neha, Yashoda. The duo performed the pancha jaathi jatis in unison. Visually, the performance could have been more appealing if the distance between the dancers was less. The recital was a rendezvous of three generations with Vindhuja’s mother, Kalamandalam Vimala Menon, at the nattuvangam.

Jaya Bhatt

Jaya Bhatt   | Photo Credit: KK Najeeb

Jaya Bhatt’s Kathak recital began with ‘Gajanam Bhootha Ganadhi sevitham’, an invocation to Siva. It was followed by a Ganesh paran that included bols of the pakhawaj to enhance the progression of dance. Teel taal of 16 beats with Thaat was instrumental in bringing out the intricacies like kasak-masak, which depicts the rhythmic movements of wrist and chest. In Amad, the sound of the gunghurus was drowned by the high-decibel rendition of the song. However, the tihai and ladi were attractive.

The abhinaya piece ‘Eso bheji shyam rang’ was composed in Thumri. Radha disguises as Krishna and the Gopis are unable to identify her. But as Krishna is able to recognise her, she turns an embodiment of bashfulness. The concluding number, a Dhrupad piece in Atana composed by the Gundecha brothers, ‘Siva, Siva, Siva, Sankara Vasudeva’, began with salutations to Siva.

Parvathy Menon

Parvathy Menon   | Photo Credit: KK Najeeb

A recital of Kuchipudi by Parvathy Menon began with ‘Kapali nee’ on Nataraja. Her virtuosity in nritta was revealed as she accomplished the jatis in chaturasra, khanda, misra and sankeerna gathis, all in tisra, with exactitude. After Swathi’s ‘Sri Ramana vibho’ in Arabhi, she came good in a tarangam based on Narayana Theertha’s composition, ‘Krishnam kalaya sakhi sundaram’. Laudable was her abhinaya as the rare story of Krishna and Siva playing rasaleela was taken for sanchari. The roles of the two were reversed – Krishna, the embodiment of masculine energy, and Siva, feminine energy.

The feats on the plate while enacting the same were praiseworthy, just as her mukhabhinaya. Swathi’s bhajan ‘Visweswara’ was the last number.

Madhulita Mohapatra

Madhulita Mohapatra   | Photo Credit: KK Najeeb

Madhulita Mohapatra and her disciples enthralled the audience with five rare compositions of Odissi of which ‘Shoonya Swarupa’, a solo by her, was noteworthy for its philosophical content.

The devotee yearns for the ultimate realisation of the Divine that is formless but still is manifest everywhere – in dancing peacocks, prancing deer, raindrops, Draupadi’s disrobing et al, which the dancer performed evocatively. ‘Bajuchhi Sahi Bajare’ was an exposition of abhinaya presented by Madhulita and Meghna. The sakhi warns Radha about the latter’s overtures to Krishna that had turned scandalous in the bazaar. Pallavi, the last number, was a celebration of the nuances of Odissi nritta. Named after the raga Janasammohini, it was set to Ektali. Chuzhippu was more pronounced and adavus remarkably graceful in a Mohiniyattam recital by Swapna Rajendrakumar. ‘Kottichetam’ was striking for the tandava of Siva and lasya of Uma. Madhulita, unfortunately, had to brave the fireworks in connection with Sivaratri celebrations to present her dance pieces.

Swapna Rajendrakumar

Swapna Rajendrakumar   | Photo Credit: KK Najeeb

While the organisers’ wanting to accommodate as many dancers as possible was welcome, it appeared counterproductive since the schedules were unduly delayed. Also, the garish backdrop of the stage was perhaps not conducive to dance performances.

Balivadham Kathakali, vocal recitals by Chenkotta Harihara Subramanian and Gayatri Venkitaraghavan and a number of Mohiniyattam recitals, especially on the day of Sivaratri, were part of the festival organised by Sree Vadakkunnathan Kshetra Upadeshaka Samithy.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 12:44:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/reviews/dance-performances-in-thrissur-as-part-of-sivaratri-festival/article30928773.ece

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