Ashtapadi as vehicle

Shobana in Gita Govindam. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan   | Photo Credit: S_R_Raghunathan

Marketing experts often stress on the importance of sleek design and clever packaging to appeal to a wider spectrum of consumers. Shobana, with her experience on the silver screen has understood the importance of projecting her ideas in an appealing manner. Her performance in ‘Gita Govindam’ was choreographed as a group composition, with attention to details of stagecraft and presented as an attractive visual package.

Ashtapadi is one of the most popular compositions in the dance repertoire of every Indian classical style, with dancers exploring it in depth. Shobana has encapsulated the ashtapadis into short, crisp choreographic group presentations, to reach out to a larger audience base not initiated into deep understanding of classical dance.

From the start, when the girls in colourful skirts enter in a whirlwind of movement with a pitambar-clad Shobana as Krishna following them, to the grand finale, it was a non-stop kaleidoscope of colour, composition, melody and movement.

The popular ashtapadis such as ‘Lalita Lavanga,’ ‘Nindati Chandana’ and ‘Yaahi Madhava’ came one after another in quick succession, in an eclectic mix of rhythm and movement, with the dancers capturing the requisite visual representations of the flora and fauna of Gokul, the ched–chaad of Krishna and gopis, raas leela. A consummate artist in total control of her laya, Shobana was a picture of grace gliding in and out of the stage as Krishna, coming alive as the impish lad full of mischief or the incorrigible romantic through her extraordinary abhinaya.

The sakhi is communicating to Krishna the scorching pangs of separation that Radha is experiencing and when the lines Vilapati – rodithi is rendered, a second spotlight showing Radha emoting what the sakhi is saying: it was a masterly visualisation of time and space, a poetic moment.

The Dasavatara sloka as the concluding item gave immense scope for narrative story telling with attractive friezes and postures, positioned at appropriate places. In Ramaavatar for the Sita Swayamvara scene, Shobana’s portrayal of the various suitors was laced with a twinge of humour and her body arched like a bow was greeted with cheer by the rasikas.

The show, by and large, succeeded in its intention to reach out to the viewers, but it has to be admitted that the excitement one experiences is just momentary.

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Printable version | Jun 12, 2021 7:58:03 PM |

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