Theatre

Display of valour, sringara

Twosome: Usha and Chitralekha in a scene from 'Banayudham.'   | Photo Credit: Special arranagement

Certain scenes from ‘Banayuddham' was performed on two different days at the Natakasala of Sreekrishnaswamy Temple, Ambalapuzha. Usually ‘Banayuddham' is performed in the Southern style in Kathakali. After the demise of guru Chengannur Raman Pillai, this style survives through Madavoor Vasudevan Nair. The present production was choreographed in the Northern style by Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharody even as it retained the ‘gopurattam' in its entirety.

The first day's play depicted how Banan (Kalamandalam Shanmukhan) became invincible by pleasing Lord Siva who grants him several boons.

Energetic portrayal

The energetic and detailed attam that follows has Banan enacting how he got the thousand arms as a blessing from Siva who was pleased with his consummate artistry on the mizhavu. Kalamandalam Krishnadas and Kalanilayam Ratheesh's chenda, Kalanilayam Manoj's maddalam and Kalamandalam Srikanth's edakka played with élan the tandava and lasya of Siva and Parvati as Shanmukhan matched the rhythmic variations with a fine pakarnattam.

This is perhaps the first time in Kathakali that one witnessed an effort to present the Ardhanareeswara dance on stage.

The second day of the performance narrates how Usha (Shanmukhan), Bana's daughter, dreams about a young man who steals her heart.

The detailing of the padam ‘Kamopamaroopan kamanan' here and ‘Pesalanane Kanka,' which Chitralekha (Margi Vijayakumar) enacts after using her yogic powers to bring Aniruddha to Usha, could have been raised a notch higher for a fuller realisation of the emotion of love. Pathiyoor Sankarankutty and Kalamandalam Jayaprakash rendered the padams mellifluously.

An interesting deviation from the norm was the way Chitralekha draws the portraits of several men (to help Usha find out who the man of her dreams is) while enacting the padam ‘Chitrapadamithu kanka baale.' Chitralekha shows Usha portraits of heroes that end with that of Krishna. Usha tells her that the man of her dreams resembled him. Then Chitralekha draws the portrait of Pradyumna and then that of his son Aniruddha. Usha expresses her joy as she gazes at the portrait of Aniruddha. Anirudhan's (Kalanilayam Vinod) moments with Usha could have been more nuanced if the padam was rendered in a slower tempo. The performance was organised by Sandarsan Kathakali Vidyalayam, Ambalapuzha.


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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 11:32:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/Display-of-valour-sringara/article16215524.ece

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