An array of art forms
K. K. GOPALAKRISHNAN
The annual festival of Thalam Cultural Trust, which was held in Thrissur, showcased the talent of veteran artistes and newcomers.
SPECTRUM OF DANCE FORMS: The programmes held in connection with the annual festival of Thalam Cultural Trust in Thrissur proved to be crowd-pullers.
Although patrons of culture in Kerala are proud of traditional art forms like Koodiyattam, Nangiarkoothu and Kathakali in their rhetoric, in practice, many of the arts festivals in the State do not include these performing arts. However, Thalam Cultural Trust in Thrissur began its seven-day annual festival with a Nangiarkoothu performance by Usha Nangiar. And the organisers did away with the speeches that mark such functions.
The festival was inaugurated by a 10-minute dance performance by a group of students from Balaji Kalashetra, followed by the chanting of Sugatakumari's poem `Devadasi' by Remya, a Plus Two student. Usha performed `Poothanamoksham' and skilfully portrayed the emotional conflict between Poothana's maternal instinct and her base nature. V.K.K. Hariharan was superb on the mizhavu.
The Dhananjayans enthralled the audience on the second day with a two-hour Bharatanatyam performance. One of their disciples Divya Shivasundar also accompanied them. An episode from `Ramanatakam,' which portrayed the dialogue between Mandara and Kaikeyi and Dasaradha and Kaikeyi, captivated the audience.
`Mohana Krishna Mohita Krishna' a varnam performed by Divya was praiseworthy for its precision in both presentation and choreography. On the third day, Jhelum Paranjpae and her disciples of Smitalaya, Mumbai, performed Odissi dance. The item, based on Bhaskaracharya's 12th century mathematics treatise `Leelavati,' was a new experience for the audience. The fourth evening exposed the audience to the innovative choreography and physical theatre staged by talented artistes of Samudra Performing Arts. `Jhalam' (water) and `Sound of Silence' were the pieces they performed.
The following day disappointed many music buffs as violin maestro Kunnakkudi Vaidyanathan chose to speak on the raga Maya Mayava Gowla and did not perform.
The performance by Malabika Mitra, an exponent of classical Kathak, on the sixth day, lifted the spirits of the spectators. Her flawless technique of the Jaipur and Lucknow gharana and scintillating footwork, crisp and incisive bols and pleasant personality enthralled the audience. It was the charm of pure classicism, with more emphasis on the aspect of abhinaya.
A story on Sabari, adapted from the Ramayana, based on an unknown Urdu poet's couplet, which explores the plight of untouchables, was set to the six-beat Dadra Tal and North Indian semi-classical music. The choice was simply brilliant. The festival concluded with a Kuchupudi and Bharatanatyam performance by Ananda Shankar Jayant and her disciples from Hyderabad.
The troupe chose to present `Navarasa - an expression of life,' a group choreography based on a Sanskrit sloka. It was a portrayal of the manifestation of human expressions, an apt concluding number.
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