KimAham Institute of Classical Dance organised the Sharangati festival in Bangalore earlier this month featuring four top dancers in different styles. When one surrenders oneself to the Almighty with complete devotion, honesty and sincerity, then the devotee is blessed and one of the best ways to come closer to the divine is through the medium of classical dance and music. With this underlining philosophy of reaching out to the supreme through classical dances, was an elevating experience not only for the dancers but also for the audience.
The dancers featured were Satyanarayana Raju for Bharata Natyam, Deepika Reddy for Kuchipudi, Ayswaria Variar for Mohiniattam and Vinod Kevin Bachan for Odissi. The chief guest for the occasion was renowned Odissi exponent Padmashri Ranjana Gauhar, Kuchipudi exponent Padmavani Mosalikatti, Veena maestro Sumi Sudeendran and veteran journalist Satish Suri and this writer. The festival was organised by Kuchipudi exponent Avijit Das on behalf of KimAham Institute.
The programme commenced with the exquisite and brilliant Kuchipudi performance by Deepika Reddy. Besides the Vandana Ganapati, the piece-de-resistance of the evening was the number Rukmani Patra Pravesham, as the title suggests Rukmani is introduced to the audience who is the beloved of Krishna and she vividly narrates her experiences with Krishna and says that he appears like a streak of lightening and suddenly disappears and keeps her yearning, Unable to bear the pangs of separation, she writes a letter to him, revealing her devotion. Deepika was well supported with a fine team of musicians, particularly the singer Nithya was melodious. Deepika concluded with rhythmic dance on the brass plate known as Tarangam. Deepika impressed the audience with expressions and stylised movements.
Vinod Kevin Bachan is the ardent disciple of Padmashri Ranjana Gauhar. It is nice to note as to how he has shaped up into a fine Odissi performer over the years. The Bhairav Pallavi was noteworthy for its exquisite and lyrical movements blending well with complex rhythm. The usage of Shehanai and dhol added to the musical impact of the item. The Ardharishwara number incorporated the varied attributes of both Shiva and Parvati in a dramatised format.
Ayswaria Variar is among the few Mohiniattam dancers who continues to look slim and elegant on the stage. After the invocation, Ayswaria Variar impressed the audience with her graceful movements and powerful expressions in Maya Mohana that dramatised episodes like Draupadi Vastraharanam, Gajendra Moksham and the fight against "adharma" in the Kurukshetra battle. Music by Kavalam Narayana Panikkar.
The most impressive performer, Satyanarayana Raju, who rendered an elevating performance, truly propagating the philosophy of surrendering oneself to the almighty. The elaborate Varnam, an extract from Krishna Karnamrutam, selected by Acharya Raghavendra: "Shri Krishna Kamala Natha Vasudevaatmaja" portrayed the varied facets and glory of the Lord, through varied episodes like Poothana Vadham, Gopika Vastraharanam, Govardhana and ultimately as the Parthasarathi of Arjuna, as he reveals his Viswroopam and instigates Arjuna to fight against Adharma, with essence of the Bhagvata 'Dharma Sthapana, Sambhavami Yuge Yuge’ wherein the Lord appears to restore, righteousness and happiness. Another item that impressed the audience was the Tygaraja Keertana revealing the encounter of Rama with Krishna, Satynarayana's vibrant movements and powerful expressions was the highlight of his elevating performance. His orchestral team was led by powerful musicians like commendable singer Deepthi Srinath, mridangam by SP Balakrishna, flute by Raghvendra and nattuvangam by Chaitra Jagadish. An unusual and novel festival indeed.