Friday Review

Clearing the acid test

Rajasree Praharaj.

Rajasree Praharaj.   | Photo Credit: 17dfrRajasree2

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Rajasree Praharaj showcased swift movements and versatility in playing divergent characters in Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra’s composition of “Sita Haran” in Kolkata.

This year’s Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for Odissi was awarded to Rajasree Praharaj. She is a disciple of the talented Ratikant Mohapatra, son of the great Kelucharan Mohapatra. Rajasree has toured extensively all around the globe both as a soloist as well as the lead repertory dancer of the Srjan Nritya Basa. She is a young and upcoming performer with lot of potential.

Recently she was in Kolkata, performing at The Rabindranath Tagore Centre of Indian Council for Cultural Relations at its Satyajit Ray Auditorium. She performed Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra’s composition of “Sita Haran”, which has been an epic choreography from the great Indian epic “Ramayana” taken from Tulsi Das’ “Ramcharitmanas.”

“Sita Haran” – created by a legend and adapted by no less a personality than Ratikant Mohapatra – has been presented by many an Odissi dancer just for its sheer beauty with varied degrees of success. “Sita Haran” perhaps could be taken as a yardstick to prove a dancer’s mettle. It is like the Varnam in Bharatanatyam, which can be performed well only by one who has a mastery of the art form. Rajashree Praharaj has passed the test of time.

She has matured excellently to perform this piece in front of a hall bursting in the seams with rasikas. This was the real acid test, as people wowed at her every gait and posture, as she skilfully broke up appropriately in tribhanga at every point and bent her knees to give a sculpture like look. She portrayed the different roles with elan -graceful as Rama’s consort, endearing as a doe eyed golden deer, duty bound as Lakshman, wickedness personified in her act of curling her moustache as Ravana, moaning and crying aloud as Sita when forced into his chariot, imitating Ravana’s mocking laughter at the success of his evil act, emoting of Jatayu’s brave fight and his death pangs before he drinks a drop of water from the hands of Rama whose devotee he was.

Swift movements where ever required, changing roles in the wink of an eye were savoured with relish and applauded.

With every advancing year, she would surely be able to give more, keeping in mind that she should back up her abhinaya with her skill and fluidity in nritta intact, which can only be possible with practice day in and day out.

Pandit Raghunath Panigrahi’s music composition was out of the world and what with an innovative and talented group of musicians and with Ratikant himself strumming the mardala, the dancer was greatly helped to take the well known story of the abduction of Sita forward.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 8:20:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/Clearing-the-acid-test/article14425997.ece

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