The 150th birth anniversary of poet Rabindranath Tagore was celebrated in Kochi with a variety of programmes that focussed on the lyricism of his works. Mohiniyattam danseuse Pallavi Krishnan and her troupe performed ‘Ritu Ranga,' which fused the poet's work of the same name with select passages from Kalidasa's ‘Ritusamhara.'
The passages in the latter work were tuned in the Sopana style of music, whereas ‘Ritu Ranga' was composed in the musical vocabulary of Rabindra Sangeeth. It was not surprising that such a theme could be taken up in its current format by Pallavi, an alumna of Shantiniketan.
The six different seasons, starting with scorching ‘Greeshma' (summer), were interpreted in the idiom of Mohiniyattam.
Marked by grace
Various images of nature came alive in the beautiful presentation of nritta and abhinaya. The dancers used shawls of various colours to represent the various seasons.
Pallavi's dance was marked by stage presence and grace. The agony of the dry and hot summer season was graphically presented by the dancers, all alumini of Kerala Kalamandalam. Sheena Sunil, Soumya, Ramya and Chitra made for a talented ensemble.
Later, Pallavi pointed out that dancers, all Malayalis, had to learn and memorise the meaning of every line of Bengali poetry that was portrayed through the dance. Perhaps the most daunting task was to adapt the Mohiniyattam movements to the varied rhythms and music of Rabindra Sangeeth.
Thus the fast music and dynamism of ‘Hemonte kon basanteri' was in stark contrast to the more passionate presentation of Kalidasa's interpretation of ‘varsha ritu' in ‘Valahakashcha.' The mating season of the animal kingdom were sketched out admirably.
While fields dancing in the breeze and gurgling brooks formed the picture of ‘Sharat,' morning dew and budding shoots described the beauty of the season ‘Hemant' in Kalidasa's lines ‘Navapravalolgamasasyaramya.' This was perhaps the most detailed description of enchanting moonlit nights and the joy of harvest.
The dancers revelled in joyous abandon in welcoming the spring season to the strains of ‘Aaj khela bhangar khela,' as it marks the end of the celebration of the seasons.
‘Ritu Ranga' being a highly picturesque thematic piece, anything in terms of a set design and props could have worked well. Even clever lighting could have heightened the feel of the piece, which was never to be.
Prior to the dance performance, Additional Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar gave a talk on the bard's seminal work, ‘Geetanjali.'
The programme was presented by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations and Kerala Fine Arts Society.