Inspired by former American Vice-President Al Gore’s award-winning documentary, ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ Kuchipudi dancer Deepika Reddy and her husband Shyamgopal presented a thematic programme on environmental issues titled ‘Prakrithi Rakshathi Rakshithaha’ (Protect nature for your protection.)
Laudable venture this, presented with lot of effort and coordination, yet not quite getting the message across. There was nothing wrong with the technical side as the dancing was of a high standard; it was the editing that was too indulgent, allowing a 45-minute introduction in a 70-minute show.
While it would be unfair to compare the documentary and this production, it was the ‘heart’ behind the visuals, the presence or absence of which, that made a difference. Just as Al Gore’s personal reminiscences brought the slide show closer home, Deepika’s message could have been more powerful had she visualised it with more emotion.
‘Vriksha Vilaapam’ (Pharaz, talamalika), the crux of the story, showing the felling of trees and the resulting change in weather conditions, the excessive heat and excess rainfall, was however portrayed with clinical efficiency. A pause here, say with a human interest story, might have helped.
The message apart, ‘Prakrithi...’ scored high on all other parameters. There was good dancing, excellent synchronisation and beautiful tableaus created to underline the wonder of Nature. Both the invocation ‘Namosthuthe Prakrithi Maathe’ (Mohana, Adi) and ‘Prakrithi Varnana’ (ragamalika, talamalika) brought out the beauty of the trees, water and animals with impressive friezes and well-coordinated steps. The lights on-lights off mode could have been avoided.
Another stand-out piece was ‘Janapada Sandesham’ (Desaakshi, Adi), where the message of hope was brought out.
Deepika went all out to satisfy the environmentalist and the Kuchipudi enthusiast -- the Ikkat costume was specially hand-woven from Pochampally, the brass plate dance, usually occurring in the tarangam, and the patra pravesha daruvu (‘Vriksha Pravesha,’ Surutti) used to introduce a character, were included, besides the special costume for the mythological characters as in Hanuman and the rakshasis of Lanka.
The original lyrics were by Bnim, the music was composed by D.S.V. Sastry, the vocalists were D.S.V. Sastry and Nityasantoshini.
The talented dancers besides Deepika were: Mihira Pathuri, Pooja Reddy, Samatha Bezawada, Harshini Bhupathiraju, Kavya Kalyanram, Shyamala Veenukonda, Hiranmayi, Shloka Reddy, Vijaya Sekhar and Mruthyunjaya Sharma.
A re-look at the visualisation may be wise.