Friday Review

Moving like a master

IN QUEST Avijit Das

IN QUEST Avijit Das  

Kuchipudi dancer Avijit Das shone in parts during his performance in New Delhi.

Avijit Das, a rising star on the Kuchipudi horizon, gave a commendable performance in the traditional repertoire for most part of his performance at the India Habitat Centre. For this critic it felt like going down memory lane to watch a vibrant execution of a ‘shabdam,’ ‘Dasavataram’ and ‘Tarangam’ devoid of interpolations in the name of sophistry. Avijit brought the memories of Kuchipudi masters come alive with his untampered style.

Beginning with a Pushpanjali and continuing into an invocation to Ganesha, the shabdam as this particular piece is termed had all the trappings of its category which the artiste executed with grace (a la Chinna Satyam maestro) and vigour. The Dasavataram was quintessential Kuchipudi with its daru and repetitive refrain which gave ample scope for improvisation of each verse (avatar) in terms of abhinaya. The stances were etched out of a hoary past when this dance was performed only by male artistes.

The pieces are always crisp and invigorating and never too long-drawn; so did the dancer who kept a close eye on the text and idiom in all earnestness. His footwork, gesticulation and sancharis were accurate to the changing pace of the rhythm; the only polish he brought into the dance without sacrificing its purity of expression was his stylishly cut out movements and eloquent facial feelings in tune with the connotation of the lyric.

The popular Narayanateertha tarangam ‘Aaloka ye Sri Bala Krsnum...’ was preceded by a divine sloka that was like a pointer to what would follow. His sanchari and abhinaya as he skirts along the refrain (sangathee) ‘Govatsa brunda palaka ...’ a number of times varied as he unfolded the instances in child Krsna’s life (Bhagavat). Krsna’s tussle with the serpent Kalindi in the waters of Yamuna was depicted with dexterity - on one side a playful lord trying to vanquish and on the other, a venomous reptile wanting to overpower.

The tarangam as usual wrapped up with dance on the brass plate. It was a neat execution with clarity of sound and jingle (anklet bells and plate) to mnemonic utterances and percussion. The artiste has tremendous balancing power going by his striking postures.

However, the tillana to a Swati Tirunal composition was a far cry from the traditional Kuchipudi pattern that has so far regaled us. The song and tune were such that the tillana had to be undertaken in a leisurely fashion, a reversal from the vigour of this genre. The last piece, a Purandhara Dasa’s aarti was repetitive of Dasavatara imagery in a nutshell as it was embedded in the lyric.

In fact, the artiste emulated the avatars with elan yet the repetitive element could not be overlooked. A judicious choice of items would have embellished the recital as it reached a conclusion and made for a wholesome treat.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 9:34:31 AM |

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