Friday Review

Dedicated endeavour

Mohiniattam recital by Swapna Rajendrakumar was liltingly beautiful

‘Shyama Murali – an Evening with Lord Krishna’, a thematic Mohiniattam recital was presented by Swapna Rajendrakumar recently in Bangalore.

The evening commenced with obeisance to Lord Ganesha, remover of all obstacles, with verses attributed to Agasthya Muni set to a thalamalika in Nattakurinji raga. Replete diverse rhythmic patterns and vigorous nritta segments, the item encapsulated the tone and tenor of the entire performance. ‘Krishna Kavyam’, the next item was couched in a ragamalika and thalamalika, and extolled the beauty of the Lord and his adornments, and the honeyed melody of his flute. The ensuing ashtapadi ‘Dheera Sameere’, in which Radha is exhorted to go to Krishna who awaits her on the banks of the Yamuna, was also set to a ragamalika.

Verses form the ‘Madhurashtakam’ were taken up next to describe the ineffable sweetness of everything associated with Krishna, including his speech, gait and raiment, the lilting verses set to a ragamalika in adi thala. The episode relating to Sudama was cited as an example of steadfast and enduring friendship, elucidating the phrase ‘sakhyam madhuram’. Sudama’s sense of wonder and awe at the riches of Mathura and the grandeur of Krishna’s palace, the latter’s delight at seeing him, and his astonishment at the riches bestowed on him in return for a seemingly paltry gift of beaten rice, were aptly and convincingly delineated. The allure of the Lord’s song was linked to the Bhagavadgita , with a convincing portrayal of the power and magnificence of the Vishwaroopa as viewed by Arjuna. Beautifully choreographed and presented, the piece, also set to a ragamalika in adi thala, was easily one of the best of the performance, striking a balance between well executed footwork and effective abhinaya.

Devotion to the Lord and the divine splendour of his form were the subjects of a brief exposition based on excerpts from Sri Krishna Karnamritham, heralded by the celebrated shloka beginning ‘Kasthuri Thilakam’, with the alternating chathurashra and khanda rhythms lending a vibrant charm to the presentation. The final item of the evening was ‘Kubja’, narrating the story of the hunchback of Mathura, who is cured of her handicap and released from bondage by the grace and compassion of Krishna.

A re-arrangement of the sequence of items with a mellow abhinaya oriented piece could be considered in future editions of the recital, especially in view of the two initial thalamalikas and three successive ragamalikas with similar formats that followed the invocation. Also, the inclusion of an item on Krishna’s early childhood would have rounded off the presentation nicely.

Expert orchestral support was led by the artiste’s guru Sunanda Nair who wielded the cymbals, Gireeshan (vocal), Shankar Raman (veena), Mahesh Swamy (flute), P. Nandakumar (edakka), and Aneesh M. (mridanga). The performance, based on extracts from various sources choreographed with considerable nritta components, maintained a lively tempo throughout, and bore testimony to much stamina, training and dedication, underscored by the tastefully appointed backdrop and appropriate lighting.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 4:00:04 AM |

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