Dance

Tribute to mothers in mythology

Kuchpudi dance ballet by Maddali Usha Gayatri and her troupe Photo: G. Krishnaswamy.   | Photo Credit: G_Krishnaswamy

Marking the International Mothers' Day, Nritya Kinnera, an institute of State Government's Hamsa awardee, Usha Gayatri, came up with a ballet titled Matru Devo Bhava. It was staged at Ravindra Bharati for the first time, to a packed house. Every thing that went on stage was related to the subject.

The ballet written by Bnim, ingeniously brought into view women of different periods of Hindu cosmology — Parvati of Satya Loka (Godly space), Leelavati (Krita yuga), Sita (Treta yuga), Yasoda (Dwapara yuga) and Vakula (Kaliyuga). The drama was woven around them narrating how these women, mothers of Godly figures who eventually turned out to be the icons of different mythological periods.

The choreography was carefully planned by Usha Gayatri, so as not to miss the flavour of motherhood, with an in built drama woven around these mothers. Usha played all the roles of mothers, suiting the narration.

While the lyrical part found good abhinaya from a number of dancers, used for scenic interpretation and also to go through apt foot work in presenting various jatis and rhythmic swara intonation. Usha was quite dignified in all these five roles. The music was a pre-recorded score set by Srivalli, a good singer too, who lent her voice to the drama. According to mythological themes, three of these mothers – Parvati, Yasoda and Vakula are foster mothers. Parvati creates Lord Ganesha and puts him on guard while she completes her bath. Lord Siva who arrives just then beheads the boy, when the latter stubbornly stops him from entering his home. On knowing who he was and to console Parvati, Siva gets the head of an elephant and fixes it on Ganesha, gives him life and also blesses him to become worthy of worship.

Leelavati, mother of Prahlada, is part of Narasimhaavatara theme. Demon king Hiranyakasipa's son Prahlada, is an ardent devotee of Vishnu. This enraged Hiranyakasyapa, tries to kill Prahlada, despite pleas from Leelavati.

When Prahlada is knocked down , by Hiranyakasyapa Lord Narasimha emerges and kills Hiranyakasipa. Sita's motherhood too suited the theme. But again Vakula Devi, according to Sthala purana of Lord Venkateswara was Yasoda in her previous birth, who missed Krishna's marriage with Rukmini in Dwapara Yuga. Krishna promised then that she would witness his marriage in her next birth when he takes the form of Venkateswara in Kaliyuga. And that happens when both Vishnu and Lakshmi descend to earth as Venkateswara and Padmavati and get wed in her presence.

Krishna indeed has a real mother Devaki Devi and had to send him away toYasoda, his foster mother, to save the new born from Kamsa who had already killed her other children, right after their birth. Krishna's reunion with his mother would have been a quite challenging interpretation in dance form.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 4:58:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/Tribute-to-mothers-in-mythology/article14959771.ece

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