My favourite raga

DEEPIKA REDDY: Inspired by Mohanam

DEEPIKA REDDY: Inspired by Mohanam  

Mohanam inspires me as a dancer, choreographer and music lover. I feel the songs in this raga reflect a wide range of moods and emotions. Many popular pieces of the Kuchipudi repertoire are based on Mohanam. This could be one of the reasons why I developed a natural liking for it.

Talking about its technical aspects, a vintage raga with five notes in arohana and avarohana, Mohanam is derived from the 28th Melakartha raga, Hari Kambhoji. The swaras madhyama ‘ma’ and nishadha ‘ni’ are missing in ascent and descent of the scale. The specialty of this raga is in its ability to depict various rasas – bhakthi, veera and rakthi. While doing mythological stories, Mohanam helps in effective portrayal of asuras or evil characters.

The raga is also used extensively in Dharuvus (rhythmic moves) that are unique to Kuchipudi, for instance in Bhamakalapam, the portion ‘Sakunalu Manchivayenamma.’ This piece enthrals the audience because of its melody. Lord Krishna is also closely associated with this raga. Traditional Kuchipudi shabdams are composed in Mohanam.

Even today, every word of the geetam ‘Varaveena’ and the varnam ‘Ninnu kori’ that I learnt as a child are clearly etched in my mind. Such is the effect of this raga.

I have always enjoyed listening to the immortal compositions in Mohanam by great vaggeyakaras.

Tyagaraja’s ‘Nannu Paalimpa Nadachi Vachitivo’, Annamayya’s ‘Cheri Yashoda’ and Mysore Vasudevachar’s ‘Ra Ra Rajeeva Lochana’ are gems truly.


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