When Nishagandhi bloomed

Kuchipudi duet by Vyjayanthi Kashi and Prateeksha Kashi at the 'Nishagandhi Festival'Photo:Hareesh N. Nampoothiri   | Photo Credit: Hareesh N. Nampoothiri

‘The rhythm of night’, as a tagline read, bloomed once again in the capital city as the eight-day-long ‘Nishagandhi Festival’ celebrated music and dance across different streams. The dance segment of the programme featured noted dancers as well as young talent.

Vyjayanthi Kashi and Prateeksha Kashi

The mother-daughter duo took the stage by storm with their electrifying Kuchipudi. Their well-imagined choreography was presented skilfully, accompanied by flawless live orchestration featuring additional percussion instruments and some neat light-effects that complemented the mood. ‘Vande Vande Vani Bhavani...’, the opening item lauding the presiding deity of Kuchipudi village, explored different types of abhinaya and nine forms of emotions.

The experienced Vyjayanthi was poised and involved while Prateeksha shone on account of her spontaneity and liveliness. Narayana Theertha’s composition in praise of Lord Narasimha (‘Karunayavalokaya Mam...’) and then the tarangam (‘Pahi Pahi Jaganmohana Krishna...’) brought in variety, keeping nritha and abhinaya well in balance. The two pieces had moments of emotion, well-composed dance phrases and some vigorous action sequences.

Elements inspired from Yakshagana were also incorporated into the former piece making it even more dramatic. The duo concluded with ‘Kubja,’ narrating the story of how Krishna healed a hunchback and turned her into a damsel. With Vyjayanthi essaying Kubja and Prateeksha as Krishna, the on-stage chemistry between the two worked well here, making it all the more captivating.

Smitha Madhav

She did well to pack her recital within the allotted time and presented a Ganesha Vandana, daru varnam in Khamas and Rageshree thillana.

Parvathy Sreevallabhan and Sandra Pisharody

Exploring desi aspects by incorporating folklore elements, the duo ably made their Mohiniyattam recital stand apart. They began in good form with ‘Poli’, an item lauding the different incarnations of the goddess. Well in sync in their footwork and having a good understanding between them, the two were at ease while presenting the pieces. It was in ‘Easel’, that they took their recital to the next level.

Presented as a conversation between goddesses Lakshmi and Parvathy, who were imagined as Kurathis, the two competently utilised the chances to bring some impromptu narratives into it and made it even more engaging by making the audience too a part of their conversation at times.

Arathy Sudhakaran

It was evident that she was enjoying her recital and the up-and-coming artiste came good during her performance. She started with a Ganesha Vandanam in Arabhi. Sadasiva Brahmendra’s popular composition ‘Manasa Sancharare...’ saw Arathy narrating the story of friendship between Krishna and Kuchela. She looked confident as she danced on the rim of the brass plate during the tarangam. Thillana in raga Desh was the concluding piece.

Ramakrishna Talukdar and Krishnakshi Kashyap

Rasikas had a rare chance to experience Sattriya dance as the two noted exponents of the dance form presented it in all its grandeur. After opening with an invocation piece together, they moved on to solos. Krishnakshi presented a pure dance item showcasing the feminine aspects of the repertoire and then Ramkrishna presented ‘Ram Katha’, a self-choreographed piece. Abhinaya being flawless and gestures easy to follow, he was able to connect with the audience with her vibrant performance.

Krishnakshi also made her efforts count as she presented ‘Krishna Katha’, again a choreography by Ramkrishna.

Marami Medhi and Megharanjani Medhi

This mother-daughter duo of Kathak dancers too worked magic on the stage. They engaged the audience in no time as they opened their recital with a Siva stuti. The two were so in tune with each other that they gave visual expression to the adage ‘like mother, like daughter’ on the stage. The two alternatively carried on with pieces such as upaj, thaat, aamad, paran, kavitt and so on, showcasing their dexterity in footwork and technical perfection.

Different types of signature spins were also featured in between. ‘Barkha Ki Ritu Aayi...’, celebrated the joy of the rainy season and it was presented by Marami to start with and later joined by Meghranjani. The two concluded their recital replicating some bols played on tabla and ending dramatically on sam at the end of each cycle.

Ileana Citaristi

Her Odissi recital was packed with some interesting choreographed pieces; three by herself and the last one by her guru, Kelucharan Mohapatra. The opening managalacharan and Bajrakanti pallavi that followed focussed more on the dance aspects. It seemed like she ran out of energy quickly as she visibly struggled to get her postures balanced and to make her moves vibrant. Ileana then continued with two abhinaya pieces, ‘Saranam’ dealing with three heroines having some negative traits and ‘Navarasa’ presenting Lord Shiva in different moods.

Hema Malini

With Hema Malini in the lead nobody was expecting a classical extravaganza. But it was rather more disappointing to see that she and her colleagues took the stage too lightly. ‘Mahalakshmi’, the dance ballet they presented here was mediocre at best, especially in view of the quality that the festival demands.

Except for the dance ballet, on all the other days, dancers were ably supported by some fine musicians and percussionists of the respective dance forms. The fete was organised by the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 10:45:11 AM |

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