Theatre

The price of arrogance

Kalamandalam Balasubramanian as Daksha and Kalamandalam Hari R. Nair as Veerabhadra in ‘Dakshayagam’. Photo: Hareesh N. Nampoothiri

Kalamandalam Balasubramanian as Daksha and Kalamandalam Hari R. Nair as Veerabhadra in ‘Dakshayagam’. Photo: Hareesh N. Nampoothiri  

A performance of ‘Dakshayagam’ in the capital city pointed out how inflated egos can rend asunder familial ties.

Although set in a mythical background, Irayimman Thampi’s ‘Dakshayagam’ is all about relationships and associated troubles, that all of us are familiar with. The protagonist is Prajapati Daksha, who is compelled to marry his daughter to Lord Siva. He expected his son-in-law to be respectful towards him but that seldom happened. He reacted, only to learn that a resentful ego could literally cost one’s head! All this came alive during a performance of ‘Dakshayagam’ in Thiruvananthapuram.

The play started with a scene between Daksha and his wife Vedavalli spending time on the banks of the Yamuna. Daksha was blessed with a baby girl there. Though it wasn’t his best, Kalamandalam Balasubramanian ably reflected the sentiments Daksha had towards his daughter. Kalamandalam Sudeep as Vedavalli did well to make his cameo role noticeable.

Sati grew up in total devotion to Siva. But Siva decided to test her resolve before granting her wish to be married to him. He took the form of a Brahmin and approached her. The role was not a long one, but as it was Siva in disguise to test her, there were enough chances for an actor to explore. However, Kalamandalam Parthasarathy did not seem to be excited about the character and limited himself to whatever was required in the text.

The story then depicted a series of incidents that worsened the relationship between Daksha and Siva.

Most of the scenes in this part were skipped to make sure there was enough time for the latter portions. Balasubramanian came good here in presenting Daksha’s mood swings as Margi Mahesh enacted the role of Indra.

The story started to pick up pace from then on. Sati sought permission to attend the Yaga performed by Daksha. Against the wish of Siva, Sati reached the place and gets humiliated. Upon her return, Sati renounced her parental relations and urged Siva to take revenge. Kalamandalam Vijayakumar did well as Sati in most of the scenes. However, in places like Sati deciding to go without the consent of Siva, the act fell short of expectations.

Kalamandalam Balasubramanian infused shades of warmth to the furious Daksha as he presented ‘Yagasalayil ninnu poka javal’ (insulting Sati for coming there without an invitation by showing her the way out) and made one feel the emotional turmoil of the character.

Kalamandalam Prasanth played the role of Siva. The middling approach he had towards the character wasn’t helping and his Siva ended up uninspiring. However, he was much livelier as he presented Siva bringing out Veerabhadra and Bhadrakali out of his locks of hair and asking them to decapitate Daksha.

The final scenes became ebullient as Kalamandalam Hari R. Nair presented Veerabhadra with all the energy and vigour the character calls for. Kalamandalam Parthasarathy and Margi Mahesh re-appeared, this time as Bhadrakali and as a Bhoothaganam respectively. The story concluded with Daksha realising the glory of Siva and paying homage to him.

The play relies heavily on percussion, especially during the final scenes. Although it lacked the required punch in some places, the percussion team of Kuroor Vasudevan Namboothiri, Kalabharathi Sumesh, Kalanilayam Rakesh and Sreekandeswaram Mohanachandran did a good job. The padams were rendered well by Kottakkal Madhu and Kalanilayam Rajeevan. The play was staged under the auspices of Drisyavedi, as part of their monthly Kathakali programme.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 4:03:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/The-price-of-arrogance/article15623239.ece

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