Reviving a lost feat


EVOCATIVE DANSEUSE: Kapila as Kamadeva.

EVOCATIVE DANSEUSE: Kapila as Kamadeva.  

Danseuse and researcher Nirmala Panicker's efforts in ferreting out lost pieces in Mohiniyattom have borne results since the formation of her group `Natanakaisiki.' `Poli,' `Esal,' `Kurathy' and `Chandanam,' which were revived and presented by the organisation, had won her laurels over the years. Perhaps the latest addition to this series is `Saptham,' a prominent item in the repertoire of the lasya dance form that had faded into oblivion. `Saptham' is so-called as it was seventh in the recital, after cholkettu, jatiswaram, varnam, padam, tillana and Slokam.

A judicious mix of nritta and nritya, `Saptham' had traditionally been employed to narrate stories. In this respect, it assumes the status of natya. It was Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma, pioneer researcher in Mohiniyattom, who had revived `Rama Saptham' and `Siva Saptham.' Unfortunately, they disappeared along with the concert pattern of Mohiniyattom.

Nirmala's choice for her new choreography, `Kama Dahanam Saptham,' was based on the `Kumarasambhavam.' The one-hour production was premiered in Irinjalakuda last week. The cantos chosen described `Sati dahanam,' `Baalakreeda' and `Kama dahanam.' These episodes provided ample opportunities for exploring abhinaya. An incensed Sati immolates herself in the yaga as her father Daksha refused to invite Siva to the yaga. The wordy duel between Daksha and Sati and the description of Siva, though short, were effectively portrayed by the dancers.

Parvathy's `Baala kreeda' stole the show. Nirmala's choreography was in tune with the bewitching imagination of the poet in describing Parvathy, `daughter of the Himalayas.' The young Parvathy's playful nature found expression through a `panthattam,' so characteristic of Mohiniyattom. `Kama dahanam' portrayed Kamadeva's failed attempt to unite Siva and Parvati and how the god of love was consumed in Siva's anger.

Gopika G. Nath, Sneha Sreekumar and Kapila, all Nirmala's disciple, lived up to the expectations of their guru.

The music was composed by Kalamandalam Jayaprakash and he rendered it himself. Kalanilayam Prakasan was on the maddalam and P. Nandakumar on the edakka.

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