Tribute to a masterpiece

Experience, expertise, grace and commitment marked the performances at Kavyarasa

‘Kavyarasa’, an evening of classical dance based exclusively on the Geeta Govinda, was organized recently in Bengaluru by Nrityantar under the stewardship of Madhulita Mohapatra.

Anuradha Vikrant’s graceful exposition of the third ashtapadi beginning ‘Lalita Lavanga’ in the Bharathanatya style, the first item, evoked a beautiful vision of Krishna dancing with the gopis, and was punctuated with flawless footwork. The perfume of the blossoms, the call of the cuckoo and the gentle breezes of spring, pointed out by the sakhi, are such that they intensify the longing of the lovelorn Radha.

Manasa Joshi’s interpretation of the fourth ashtapadi ‘Chandanacharchitha’ featured captivating choreography executed with finesse, underscored by the willowy refinement of Kathak, subtle abhinaya and restrained nritta. The sakhi once again draws Radha’s attention to Krishna, dressed in yellow silk and adorned with jewels, sporting with the gopis who sing and dance around him.

Radha’s recollection of Krishna’s alluring form and the nectar like sweetness of the music emanating from his flute as embodied in the fifth ashtapadi ‘Sancharadadharasudha’ was presented by Kuchipudi dancer Shama Krishna. An appealing coalescence of longing and lightheartedness were augmented by the sparkling rhythms germane to the idiom.

Meghana Das, dancing to the sixth ashtapadi beginning ‘Nibhrithanikunja Griham’ introduced to the programme the intrinsic grace of Odissi. Starting at a languid pace and building up to a lively one at junctures like ‘Charanaranitha Maninoopuraya,’ the item was a convincing portrayal of Radha’s reminiscences of her first meeting with the Lord and his beguiling ways, and her eagerness to reunite with him.

Simmering anger, a sense of betrayal and abject misery at Krishna’s infidelity were reflected effectively in Kuchipudi exponent Prateeksha Kashi’s depiction of the seventeenth ashtapadi ’Rajanijanitha’. The tell tale signs of having spent the night with another arouse unspeakable anguish in Radha, communicated through an intensely emotive portrayal that attested to impressive abhinaya skills.

Madhulita Mohapatra excelled in the representation of the sakhi’s exhortations to Radha to set aside her pride in the eighteenth ashtapadi ‘Harirabhisarathi’. Having driven Krishna away, she has now become the object of ridicule. The piece also incorporated an inspiring dream like sequence of the Dashavatara, suffixed to the line beginning ‘Harim Avalokaya’, indicating the true identity of the Lord.

Sathyanarayana Raju brought a blend of contrition and playfulness to his absorbing delineation of Krishna’s plea to Radha in the nineteenth ashtapadi ‘Vadasi Yadi’. Feigning innocence after dalliance with others, Krishna’s surrender to Radha, coaxing and cajoling her, as interpreted here was laced with repentance but overlaid with a sense of confidence.

Sharmila Mukherjee’s experience and expertise were reflected in the mature elucidation of the last ashtapadi ‘Kuru Yadunandana’. After the divine couple are united, Radharequests Krishna to adorn her once again with gems and silks, to decorate her hair with flowers and draw the tilak on her forehead, were expressed in the exquisite yet exacting movements integral to the Odissi idiom. On the whole the evening was fine tribute to a literary masterpiece that has had a seminal influence on the evolution of Indian performing arts.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 1:09:49 PM |

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