Dance

Message of love and devotion

‘Bhakti Margam’, the path of devotion, presented by Anubhav and Natya Swara was a tribute to the bhakti poets of India through the mediums of dance, music, poetry and storytelling. The 90-minute dance and music capsule performed in Kuchipudi and Vilasini Natyam style was compiled, composed, choreographed and performed by Anupama Kylash and Anasuya Murthy at Saptaparni recently for the first time before a well-attended audience.

Speaking at the end of the performance, chief guest and renowned Carnatic vocalist Tadepalli Loknadha Sarma said that it’s difficult to sing and dance at the same time, but the two dancers had done a commendable job. Anuradha Jonnalgadda, Head, Dept of Dance, University of Hyderabad, said that this performance should be seen by youngsters and taken across the country to enlighten the connoisseurs that the bhakti poets rose from every section of society, sect, cast and religion to preach equality and spread the message of love and devotion.



The performance began with a set of five verses called Kurangi Panchakam, which describes the essence of Bhakti Margam that is complete surrender and selflessness through the story of a doe which strays by mistake into a dangerous forest risking its life and finally gaining freedom. Divided into different seven segments, the first segment of the Bhakti Margam dealt with the saint from the East, Jayadeva Kavi, who described the form and beauty of Lord Vishnu in the incarnation of Lord Krishna and the Alwars, who poured out their devotion to Sri Ranganatha Swamy, another incarnation of Vishnu.

Rama Bhakti poets like Tulasidas of North and Ramadas of South, and Krishna Bhakti poets like Narayana Teertha of south and Ras Khan, a Muslim Pathan from Delhi, a Krishna devotee were the highlight of the second segment. This was followed by Shaiva devotional poets like Vidyapati from Bengal, where the Ardhanareeshwara concept was described. Next came two great women saint poets, Mirabai from Rajasthan and Akka Mahadevi from Karnataka, who dedicated themselves to their beloved lord renouncing the worldly riches.

Describing the Madhura Bhakti, the dancing duo spoke of Surdas, the blind bard of Mathura and the father of Padakavitha in Telugu, Sri Annamacharya, where the poet dons the role of a nayika who pines to be united with the Lord and lover. Annamacharya’s Brahmam ukte, Parabrahama ukte … and similar poets like Sadashiva Brahmendra of the South, Kabirdas and Rahim of the North were used to describe the sense of equality.

In the concluding segment, Purandaradas’ songs have been used beautifully to put across the message of total surrender as described in the Bhagavadgita. The curtain came down with the beautiful literature of the Marathi poets Eknath and Namdev.

Anasuya Murthy sang in all different languages – Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi – with total command and in tune despite the dance. Both the dancers interspersed the performance with English explanations which was lapped up by the audience present.

The dancers used the Bhakti cymbals like the taal, chirutha, to bring in the bhakti ras and even moved among the audience for a perfect symphony. They perfectly weaved the popular song Bhaja Govindam, so beautifully in the 90-minute performance without taking a break. Kudos to them!

The dancing divas were ably supported by Sreedhacharya on the mridangam and percussions, Kolanki Sai Kumar on the violin and VBS Murali on the flute.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 7:19:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/message-of-love-and-devotion/article6571306.ece

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