Kuchipudi discipline observed
NIVEDITHA PARTHASARATHY and her vibrant group of students from Nivedhanam, performed "Sri Krishnam Bhaje,'' a thematic programme on Krishna, with both the devotional and human aspects highlighted through well chosen compositions.
The smallest were certainly the cutest in this show. Led by charming Pradyumna Parthasarathy who played the role of Krishna, Amritavarshini, Vaishnavi, Dhanalakshmi, Sarika, Priyanka, Subhasini, Revathi, and Kavita, all between the ages of six and eight, impressed with their sense of timing, correct mudra prayoga and confidence in their opening Mallari, in the kummi dance, and in the "Malai Mannivanna'' paasuram.
The older dancers like Ramya, Abhinaya, Nithya, Divya, Shalini and Meenakshi were expressive and agile in their portrayals, but they should pay attention to improving their body posture.
Some well visualised pieces included the mischievous Krishna stealing butter along with his sprightly friends, with movements set in Chatusram nadai, the gopi finding the mess in a `Oh-ho-ho thair paanai vodanji pochude' kummi mettu, the gopis together taking their complaints to Yashoda in Papanasam Sivan's Todi composition, "Thaye Yashoda'' and Krishna professing his innocence in the Andavar Pitchai Yamuna Kalyani composition, "Eedum Ariyain".
Better group choreography would have enhanced the visual appeal of the items. Staggered entries and exits can relieve crowding in the wings, while creative groupings and varying movement patterns can exploit the dynamism of a group to its fullest.
The orchestra was led by the able nattuvanar, M. Swaminathan, well supported by Varadarajan on the mridangam, Devarajan on the flute and Paramaguru on the morsing.
The vocalist, Padmini Venkatesan, was good in parts.
M.V.N. Murthy, Senior disciple of Kuchipudi maestro Vempatti Chinna Sathyam, remains true to his guru's choreographies as observed in his presentation in Bharat Kalachar. Besides the invocation, the traditional items included the Vasantha ragam jathiswaram, the Ramayana sabdam, and Tyagaraja's Pancharatna kriti "Jagadananda Karaka" in Nattai. They were staged as group productions, with the customary speed and jauntiness associated with Kuchipudi, accompanied by a largely `padarthabhinaya' style of literal translation of the text. Murthy's solo presentation on Annamacharya's "Muddugare Yashoda," in Kurunji, displayed his histrionic ability todramatisatise Krishna's escapades with Kamsa, Rukmini and Kaliya, as mentioned in the composition.
Murthy's individual choreographies, however, possessed a different flavour altogether. He has experimented with unusual compositions while staying within the conventional language of Kuchipudi, as in the Tarana, a Pandit Ravi Shankar composition performed as a Tarangam, balancing on the rim of a brass plate. A more successful experiment was for a western classical-based musical composition by Yani called `Nostalgia,' that seemed to salute the five elements of nature with pure physicality of movement. The innovative concluding piece comprised stanzas from `Bhaja Govindam'. But more than the choreographies, the extent of discipline observed by Murthy's disciples in the footwork, in the well-rehearsed presentations and in the numerous entries and exits were commendable. In effect, Sunita, Rupa, Archana, Radha, Dharani and Sailakshmi, were the stars of the show.
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