Dance ballet “Chitrangada” in Mysore was a successful innovative production featuring many exceptional merits in the fields of both art and literature, as will be transpired in the following lines.
Rabindranath Tagore's Bengali work of the same title had provided a strong groundwork for developing “Chitrangada” in Kannada. S. Shridhar a professor of Mathematics has translated the work of the great poet; and therefore the present show inherently carried a blend of waves of melody and lofty sentiments.
The theme focused on the epic (Mahabharata) character Chitrangada, the beauteous and the valiant daughter of the king of Manipura. Tagore's concern is not just to narrate the story as a means of mere entertainment, but also to convey impressively the magnitude of the feminine might that can conquer a male of equal stature.
Around 15 young and talented students of Nrityagiri Academy of Performing Arts and Research Centre under the guidance of Guru Kripa Phadke, portrayed every relevant character methodically and expressively.
The message that it is not the beauty of the exterior that attracts an individual of high thinking, but is the serene inner substance that is powerful in exerting winning influence over an intellect of high rank, reached the hall with great success through the ballet.
In spite of all her physical beauty, further enhanced by the blessing of Madana, Chitrangada's romantic overtures failed to exert any influence on Arjuna, who committed to celibacy during his exile, happen to travel over the exotic and beauteous land of Manipura.
The emotive aspects derived further enhancement by the musical ensemble consisting of singers (Aloka Datta, Manasa Vijaya and Dipalakshmi Kini), melody accompanists (Somanatha Datta and Prasanna Kumar on keyboards) and percussionist (Ramesh Dhannur and A.S. Ravi on tabla and rhythm pad respectively).
Nevertheless, some of the sequences remained far from clear intelligibility as singing style and pronunciations inclined more towards Bengali musical mannerisms and accentuations. Finally, the choreography remained obscure to an average connoisseur.
Further, without being complemented by distinct and sprightly nrutha sections, the sequences restrict to abhinaya lost their expected vigour and glitter. Further, this observation on the lacuna derives ample substantiation from Abhinavaguptha's commentary on the opening chapter of Natyashastra.