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Laudable choreography

G.S. PAUL

Select compositions of Arnos Pathiri were choreographed and presented by teachers and students of Chetana Sangeet Natya Academy, Thrissur.



POETIC IMAGINATION: The production was anchored on 'Puthan Paana' and it depicted certain anecdotes in Bharatanatyam.

Arnos Pathiri's compositions had captured the imagination of Father Paul Poovathingal since his initiation into priesthood two decades ago. Soon after he graduated into a professional musician with a doctoral degree in Carnatic music, he presented a concert comprising select poems of Arnos Pathiri. Taking a cue from the wide appeal of this project, Chetana Sangeet Natya Academy, of which he is the director, choreographed and staged in Bharatanatyam and Mohiniyattom the works of Arnos.

Inspired by Arnos' lyrics

Said Poovathingal, "The vintage quality of Arnos' lyrics are suitable for both classical music and dance; this was an inspiration for me to embark on such a project." Arnos Pathiri, a German evangelist who arrived in Kerala in 1700, was influenced by the literary works of Malayalam poets of those times.

It was Poonthanam's `Jnanappana' that had inspired him to compose `Puthan Paana,' popular among Roman Catholics of Kerala. The elegy `Ummade Dukham' (Mother's Grief), `Marana Parvam,' `Vidhi Parvam,' `Naraka Parvam,' `Moksha Parvam,' `Umma Parvam' and `Janova Parvam' have been widely acclaimed for their structural beauty and poetic imagination.

The production was anchored on `Puthan Paana' and it depicted select anecdotes in the life of Christ. The `mangala puja' with which the Bharatanatyam recital opened was inspiring. The anecdotes included angel Gabriel's message to Mary, birth of Christ, curing of the blind and the pardoning of Mary Magdalene. All the anecdotes had scope for abhinaya. The choreography was laudable as abhinaya sequences were interspersed with nritta. The spatial distribution of the five dancers, including a male, was impressive. Kalamandalam Sobhana Rajeev, the choreographer, averred that only a couple of lokadharmi mudras had to be employed for evocating such a novel theme. Sreerag, who portrayed Christ, exhibited terpsichorean talent, distinctive to male dancers.

Meena, Sree Ranjini, Soja and Annmary presented a mature performance.



Mohiniyattom.

Karuna bhava

The Mohiniyattom part entailed mainly the lamentations of Mary, the lyrics for which were excerpted from `Ummade Dukham.' Sahana, to which the music was set, proved most appropriate for evoking karuna, the mainstay of the rasas employed for the choreography. The scene of Pieta is sure to remain etched in the minds of the audience. However, one felt that the crucifixion was not a subject fit for Mohiniyattom.

The improvisations in the aaharya (costume and make-up) for Christ were remarkable. The dancers were Resmy, Meghana Mohan, Anooja Mohan, Sreeji and Krishna. Kalamandalam Husnabanu choreographed this part of the production. Music direction was by Poovathingal and Abdul Aziz.

The show concluded with a music concert by Poovathingal. He was accompanied by Abdul Aziz (violin), Guruvayur Sanoj (mridangam) and Vellattanjoor Sreejith (ghatam).

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