A celestial marriage

Dance A Kuchipudi ballet on the wedding of Lord Srinivasa and Padmavati was staged.

R asanjali, a cultural organisation, invited Halim and party to present a Kuchipudi ballet Sri Srinivasa Kalyanam at Thyagaraya Ganasabha last week, to mark its 4th anniversary celebrations.

The ballet, choreographed and conducted by K.V. Subrahmanyam, was based on a chosen set of Annamacharya kirtanas in chronological order for the final event of the wedding of Srinivasa and Padmavati. Koka Vijayalakshmi, a famed danseuse, donned the role of Padmavati, while Kranthi, another girl, was Lord Srinivasa. Halim, Indira Ramakrishnan, Radhika Chakravarthi and a number of other disciples took part in dancing groups.

Some of the songs of Annamayya were so malleable for a thematic presentation in the dance form that went into narration of events that finally led to Srinivasa Kalyanam. The ballet began with Maha Ganapathi stotram and moved to the presentation of Annamayya kirtanas one after the other. Vinnapalu Vinavale was the first number, used to wake up Lord Srinivasa at dawn with an appeal to him to bless the devotees. Then there was Shodasa Pooja Vidhanam described in the song Shodasa Kalanidhiki Shodasopacharamulu, displaying an array of pujas to the lord. Vinaro Bhagyamu Vishnu Katha was taken up next, giving a brief picture of the story of Mahavishnu, reborn as Lord Srinivasa descending to the earth and settling at Tirumala, now called Bhooloka Vaikuntham. Indariki Abhayambu depicted the Dasavataras and how the lord donned different forms to save the people and sages from demons at different stages. This song gave the opportunity to present each of the incarnations of Mahavishnu, lending scope for the dancers to delineate the relevant themes. Govinda Govinda Yani Koluvare was a bhajana kirtana.

This was the occasion to dramatise the Srinivasa Kalyanam, with all maids around involving in various festive activities that generally take place in the traditional marriages, akin to the tradition of Telugus: bringing the lord and his bride to the kalyana mandapam, tying of the mangala sutram, mezuvani and so on.

At this stage another song of Annamayya — Pidiketi Talambralu — also suited the marriage scene.

Tiruveedhula Merise Devadevudu was used to depict how the celestial couple is taken around the ‘Mada' streets on richly decorated mounts on different days after the marriage. At the end they are put in a swing to the song Dolayamchala Dolayam. Performances by Kranthi as Srinivasa and Koka Vijayalakshmi as Padmavati were praise worthy. Bharati, Lakshmi Soundarya, Monisha, Pragjna and others participated in the group dances.

The whole ballet was presented with pre-recorded music. Surabhi Madhav did excellent costume work, especially for the prime characters.


The ballet was based on a chosen set of Annamacharya kirtanas

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