Dance

Myriad faces of Krishna

Malavika Sarukkai. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan

Malavika Sarukkai. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan   | Photo Credit: S_R_Raghunathan

Malavika Sarukkai treated rasikas to a fascinating fable of piety, love and joy.

With her charismatic Natya, Malavika Sarukkai wove a fable of piety, love and joy that thrilled rasikas. The dancer's conceptualisation of Mohana Krishna transformed the dance into a celebration of the blue skinned god at Brindavan.

The rasanubhava that she whisked up gave powerful testimony of Krishna's elusive charm and made up for the expectant rasika looking to Malavika to explore other facets of Krishna also. Mohana Krishna testified to the excellence of Malavika's dancing much the same way as the grade that distinguishes a flawless diamond from cubic zirconium.

Ragas Amritavarshini and Kiravani melded slokas from Krishna Karnamrutham where Malavika's portrayal of the devotee's darting admiring glances linked the quintessence of adoration for Krishna. Fluid movements and mukhabhava conveyed the rapture he invokes among his devotees with acuity.

‘Raas' took the place of the pada varnam that so readily presents a composite of bhava and tala in a margam. Malavika impeccably scripted the two components together in the narrative where she drew up on her mastery of both technique and mood in exploring the gopikas's psyche. In particular, the shift in mindset of the gopikas wrapped up in their daily chores and their unreserved surrender to Krishna juxtaposed vibrantly.

The concluding Namavali where she described the Lord of the Seven Hills pinned the note of bhakti to the background of sringara – strengthened by the sound of the cymbals. Starting from the description of the starry night until the crescendo dancing of Krishna and gopikas, Malavika seemed charged with an energy that transcended performing space.

Vocalist Murali's essay of Malayamarutham and Sriranjani empathised with the artist. Vidwan Seetharama Sharma's composing for the two pieces resounded with the weight of erudition.

Supple stances inspired from miniature paintings conjured up the angst of Radha and her joyous reunion with Krishna. Drawn from the 17th century poet, Govinda, the verses came to life with languid grace. The stress was on the waiting and presented Radha's situation with rippling motifs. The welcome she accorded to Krishna was subtly flavoured with shyness and happiness that completed the portrait of sringara.

Malavika's analogy of the soul with the offering of butter to the infant Krishna was an expression of a devotee's humility and zeal. ‘Bhavayami' in Yamankalyani was an interpretation of vatsalya bhakti: ‘Is this child really the Lord of the Seven Hills?' marvelled the dancer in a depiction where she focussed on Annamacharya's vision of his favourite Venkateswara. A thillana in Brindavani by Balamuralikrishna was a vibrant string of rhythmic passages which Malavika performed with customary flair. The exchange of articulated syllables and footwork lent briskness.

While the accompaniment of cymbals to accentuate bhakti worked fine the first time, it merely became repetitive the next time round. Madhurashtakam completed the theme of the ethereal god.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 2:26:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/Myriad-faces-of-Krishna/article15611855.ece

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