When piety met art
`Shanmatam' was a thoughtful fare presenting the six religious `matams' in contrasting styles.
COMBINED EFFORT (clockwise) Gopika Verma (sitting), Deepika and Revathy.
South Indian Cultural Association (SICA), as part of its 47th annual festival, presented an experimental dance production as its last programme of the fest at Ravindra Bharati. This was a three-in-one production - a presentation of three styles of south Indian dance - Mohiniattam of Kerala and Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh presented by Gopika Verma, Revathy Ramachandran and Deepika Reddy respectively. Titled Shanmatam - six religions, itwas a thoughtful conception presenting the theme in contrasting dance styles.The three essentials of a dance, nritta, nritya and abhinaya, were very much present. The individual presentation opened the show followed by the three artistes joining to give a total picture of the underlying thought.
Invoking Lord Ganesha
The drama opened with a Mallari in Gambhiranata with jatis reflected in pure dance format as invocation to Ganesha and Subrahmanya Kautvam. Gopika Verma, Revathy and Deepika made it a combined effort. It was a good combination and was presented reflecting Kaumara and Ganapatya Matams (stream of religion). Next was a pada varnam, an important piece in Bharatanatyam style, Amma Ananda Dayinivamma, presented by Revathy. The nritya and abhinaya parts were vivid in this style.
The third was Siva Siva Bhava Saranam, a reflection of Saiva and Saketya systems. This was set in Panthuvarali and was presented by Deepika. Her mime of the sequence of Gangavataranam was thrilling, which she presented with wonderful sancharis. And she added a traditional Tandava dance on brass plate, which is special for Kuchipudi.
Then there was Paripalayamam in Reetigowla of Swathy Tirunal, reflective of Vaishnava religious thought, presented by Gopika Verma with a detailed abhinaya in Mohiniattam style. She gave a picture of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu as Varahavatara and Vamana and the way the Lord turns himself into a beautiful Mohini roopam, takes that pot of celestial nectar (Amruta Bhandam) from custody of the demons and distributes it to Devatas. This part was attractive owing to leisurely sancharis she used for to give a clear picture of the drama.
Finally a tillana brought all the three artistes together, who presented it reflecting the special features of respective styles. This was reflective of Soura stream of thought (Matam).
Kishore conducted these dances with perfect nattuvangam while Ramesh provided vocal support. Nagai Narayanan on mridangam, Nandakumar on edakku, a special tala vadyam, and Kala Asaran on violin added well to the impressive orchestral support.
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