Dance

Dynamic display of emotions

Tyagaraja’s ‘Nauka Charitram’ is an exceptional work that depicts a boat ride by Krishna and the gopikas on the Yamuna where the latter learn the vital lesson of letting go of the externals to reach the Supreme.

Jayanthi Subhramaniam’s choreography of this musical wealth was succinct with rich visuals and commendable music, making for a winning combination.

The story of the boat proved to be a lively venture which saw 14 dancers decked in glittering costume showcasing Bharatanatyam in all its glory, against a light blue backdrop to signify water. Well-designed swan shaped props symbolising the boat lent that old world charm and yet were stylish.

Twenty-one kritis in 13 ragas such as Atana, Saurashtram, Saveri, Devagandhari and Varali gave the presentation an ethereal feel.

As the first group of dancers attired in cream costume performed ‘Sree Gananatha Paratpara,’ the voices of Radha Badri and Nandini Anand laid the warm tone for the evening. Other orchestral efforts in the recorded music score were those of Nellai Kannan on the mridangam, Kandadevi Vijayaraghavan on the violin, Bhagyalakshmi on the flute and Bhavani Prasad on the veena.

A defining factor in the production was the dynamic display of emotions. The main part of the dance drama which comprised the exchanges between the gopikas and Krishna had lucidity of thought and a cogent structure. Soundarya’s demeanour of Krishna as a small boy with the precognition of God was achieved with flair.

The direction by Jayanthi Subhramaniam, positively interpreted through Bharatanatyam by the bevy of dancers, kept in mind the movements of the boat. The friezes of the gopikas seated, standing, clustered together and scattered on the boat by the storm – were scenarios shown with almost photographic sharpness. Sumitra Subhramaniam, Janaki, Sridevi, Hamsini, Ritvika, Soumitri, Anagha, Radha, Meghna, Anjali, Deepta and Anupama sparkled in their collective effort.

A few dips in the narrative that could have been better attended to were the scenes of transformation in the mood of the gopikas and the onset of the leak in the boat. The low key treatment here diluted the dramatic aspect of the storyline. One did wish that the ‘hole’ in the boat, the cause of all woes, was shown with better precision, in the same spot.

However, of real significance was the refined and precise treatment of the scenes showing Krishna teaching the gopikas an important lesson.

‘Nauka Charitram’ was supported by The Ministry of Culture.


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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 8:12:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/dynamic-display-of-emotions/article3331845.ece

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