Mahishasura with a difference

A scene from the ballet 'Kalika Vijayam'.   | Photo Credit: arrangement

In memory of Korada Narasimha Rao, known for his role of Mahishasura, his disciple Venkat, a young Kuchipudi artiste, brought on to the stage the same theme of Mahishasura with a different texture, replacing Mahishasura with Rakta Beeja, both targets for annihilation by Mahakali.

Titled Kalika Vijayam, this ballet was staged by Venkat's Nritya Darpana at Ravindra Bharati. The cast had five main roles — Mahakali (Venkat), Mahalakshmi (Madhusalini), Rakta Beeja (Vempati Mohana Rao), Narada (Hemasundar) and Shiva (Varun). There were another ten members in supportive roles used mainly for group dances.

In Devi Bhagavatam, Rakta Beeja is one of the demons that was killed by Goddess Maha Kali, even before she targeted her main enemy Mahishasura, the chief demon. It was Mahishasura not Rakta Beeja, who prays to Brahma and gets the boon of invincibility from all beings except from a woman, whom he thought, was easy to slay.

Perhaps Venkat's interest to present something new, made him to exchange these pouranic roles placing Rakta Beeja in the shoes of Mahishasura, unlike his guru Korada who stuck to the original theme of Devi Bhagavatham. According to the original text, before the Goddess kills Mahishasura, she faces Rakta Beeja but wonders at the way every drop of blood that falls on the ground is giving birth to many demons.

She then employs her lion, to lick away all the blood drops before they fall on the ground. After killing Rakta Beeja, Goddess Kali takes on Mahishasura. Venkat's portrayal of Mahakali was supported by the make up art by Varma and Jitendra. The other artistes combined well in presenting some interesting spells of dance. Most of the play ran against pre-recorded musical backdrop. Venkat enacted the role of Mahakali ably. Vempati Mohan's portrayal of Rakta Beeja was interesting.

Kathak dancers Pt.Anjubabu and Muralikrishna were presented with Korada memorial awards.

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Printable version | Nov 25, 2021 1:50:21 AM |

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