Friday Review

Eloquent expressions

Praveen Kumar  

The Indian Council of Cultural Relations, in collaboration with Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore, hosted a Bharatanatya recital by Praveen Kumar recently as part of the Horizon Series.

The performance began with a crisp pushpanjali set to Goula raga, with verses paying obeisance to Lord Ganesha. Next was the focal point of the evening, ‘Anupama Maithriya’ in the varnam format, a composition of Shatavadhani Ganesh in the raga Hindolam and adi thala. The theme revolved around Arjuna’s friendship with Krishna, with the former reminiscing about the various incidents that affirm the unshakable bond between the two. Choreographed beautifully, the piece was replete with exacting jathis and interpretative interludes that were entirely appropriate to the warrior like and heroic nature of the central character. Going back to their childhood days, a sanchari portrayed Krishna and Arjuna as inseparable, sharing everything equally, even the fruit that is felled from the tree with a slingshot. Later, Krishna’s pivotal role at important junctures in Arjuna’s life, from Draupadi’s swayamvara to the winning of Subhadra’s hand in marriage, were presented effectively. His despair at the beginning of the mighty war, his anguish on perceiving his kith and kin arrayed on the side of the enemy, Krishna’s words of wisdom and solace through the Bhagavad Geetha, and the awe inspiring revelation of the Vishwaroopa, were conveyed eloquently. The item bore testimony to rhythmic precision, considerable emotive skills, and high levels of energy that coalesced with admirable control over the idiom.

A complete contrast in tenor was ushered in with the ensuing Kshetrajna padam ‘Ososi Namadi’ in Mukhari raga and mishra chapu thala. The innate vanity of the central male character gradually gives way to despair at the perfidy of his paramour and leads to a sense of renunciation, explicit in the decision to go to Kashi in atonement for his sins. Krishna’s childhood exploits and Yashoda’s endearments coalesced aptly with the underlying devotion of the poet in Purandaradasa’s ‘Jagadoddharana’ in Kapi raga and adi thala. The concluding thillana in Hamirkalyani raga and adi thala incorporated riveting rhythmic sequences executed with consummate ease, combining light-footed passages with emphatic footwork, an effervescent pace and wide-stage coverage.

While many of the compositions used were contemporary, the recital on the whole adhered to the traditional structure of a performance in the genre. Excellent orchestral support was provided by Prasanna Kumar (nattuvanga), Srivatsa (vocal), Harsha Samaga (mridanga), and Mandya Nagaraj (violin).

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 8:40:53 AM |

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