Friday Review

Krishna’s eternal soul

Ritusri Chaudhury in performance.   | Photo Credit: 15dfrRitusri2

To fulfil its commitment towards dance-theatre, the Bengal Repertory presented “Aradhika”, whose concept, design and choreography was done by Kathaka Ritusri Chaudhury, trained in the Lucknow Gharana by Pandit Birju Maharaj and his disciple Saswati Sen.

“Aradhika” is the tale of Radha’s yearning for Krishna. Yearning which is multi layered. On one side, it showcased human love, while it traversed higher realms of spiritual love on the other.

The scene showing Radha – daughter of Brishabhanu – as Devi or Rai was like fluid poetry written in the idiom of Kathak. The dance style, the music, the costumes, the stage and the light designing were put together in a way to spread its net on the imagination of rasikas; the ensuing emotion was intense bhakti-shringar. The scene where Radha, the young woman, indulges in love-sport with Krishna, emoted shringar rasa. The depiction of Radha when the realisation dawns on her that Krishna is her true eternal soul and that life without him is futile and she meets her Nandakumar, is soul-stirring, specially so, because Radha realises her incompleteness without Krishna . The consequent result causes the audience to introspect and choke in their throats, because of identifying themselves with her. Radha gets her earthly beloved and she interacts with him as an earthly lover would. She indulges in love’s gestures like caressing him and stroking his hair, displaying her adoration. She has got her lover whom she loved from the core of her heart.

The illusion of Rasleela caused aesthetic delight, as it was a symbol of merging of the souls as well as all experiences of Radha and Krishna for eternity. It was a poignant feeling displayed by Radha, when she feels that their happiness may be short lived. The bhava of separation was authentically and passionately displayed. The audience watched sorrowfully at the fears felt by Radha. There is pathos in the scene where Radha dwells in the memory of the impending doom that would soon follow to cast a shadow on her pure and sacred love for her beloved.

The trials and tribulations of nayika Radha even after winning him to be hers, was a typical feeling of a bhakta portrayed by Ritusri, who was in Radha’s role. Her mind is again in search of her beloved as she dwells in her supposed hour of loneliness. Her restlessness, her long wait, her sleeplessness makes her turn inwards. She searches her mind for her desired Krishna and loses her earthly bearing. She successfully indulges in sadhana symbolised by her saffron costume and becomes Aradhika.

Aradhika’s storyline was much like the life of many a bhakti saint poet emoted with feeling by Ritusri. Rhea Dawn as Radha’s soul mate, danced delicately. She gave the dance-theatre production the necessary spiritual backing. Together they made quite a pair. Aaheli Chakraborty, Reshmi Mitra, Debaruna Sengupta and Arpita Maitri were the co-dancers who gelled to make the production a true work of art.

The outstanding music composition provided by Shirshendu Mukherjee added to the charm. The composer is equally adept at vocal rendition. The full throated and melodious vocal support of Mukherjee, Nabanita Ghosh and Sritama Banerjee soothed the soul.Arindam Chakraborty on tabla, Deep Shankar Bhattacharjee on sitar, Sudip Chatterjee on flute and Umesh Misra on sarangimade up a composite musical whole.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 9:43:05 AM |

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