Dance

Tales of Krishna

Zakir Hussain. Photo: V. Ganesan  

‘Madhuram’ was Zakir Hussain’s latest offering in the series of dance presentations on the Vaishnavaite theme organised by Brahma Gana Sabha at Sivagami Petachi auditorium. The intrepid dancer has been exploring different dimensions of the subject and this particular work was devoted to interpreting tales of Krishna.

The evening’s script was based on certain pasurams, Sanskrit verses and contemporary lyrics and was highlighted by the proficient oratory of Revathy Sankaran. The flute and feather in the backdrop complimented the evening’s sentiment.

A mixture of subtle emoting and vivid storytelling formed the mainstay of the dancing which, in the orator’s words, was termed as ‘Vaishnava (or Vainava) Bharatham’ rather than regular Bharatanatyam.

Thus the very first item was both a prayer as well as a devotee’s demonstration of love through Tirumangai Azhwar’s pasuram, ‘Thiruththai Sempoththe’ (extracts from Periatirumozhi) where the nayika sends missives of love through the crow, the lizard, the kuyil and the parrot. While the audience could relish the alliteration and the bhava in the classic lyric, they could also sense the easy communication of the dancer’s thoughts.

The main piece for the evening, ‘Madhuram,’ narrated a folklore eulogising both Krishna and his devotee. ‘Dwarakai Iraivan’ threaded stories of Krishna from different parts of the country.

Zakir’s facial expressions and sprightly movements converted the dancing as a composite of dance and drama ably. The descriptions were credibly done and the only wavering was in maintaining the body stance during the role play of the potter’s story. Also, the lull between stanzas stretched too thin and set the momentum dipping in these places as a result of which it took a few moments for the pace to set again.

At his expressive best

The ensuing accounts, notably those of Radha bestowing her life breath in Krishna’s flute as well as the one about whiplashes received by Azhagar, Lord of Madurai, were done with true feeling. In these portions, the dancer set aside his restraint and merged into the characters totally. Brushing off rhythmical maladjustments in the tisra gati jati by the youthful conductor of nattuvangam, Zakir summed up the long item with poise.

While features such as the present-day language of the lyrics and the melody based upon Carnatic ragas such as Charukesi, Khamas and Pahadi ensured quick appeal and innovation, one missed the soul stirring intensity radiated by ancient songs and verses.

In ‘Madhurashatakam,’ Zakir portrayed the effulgent charm of Krishna with graceful moves and poses.

Gomati Nayakam (vocal), Archana on the nattuvangam, flautist Nataraj and Kartik Ramanathan on the mridangam provided the right support. Special effects was by Krishna.


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Printable version | Jul 23, 2021 11:24:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/tales-of-krishna/article5350875.ece

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