Drishtinandan Centre for Performing Arts, under dance director Kush Kushari, recently paid rich tribute to Adayar K Lakshman of Kalakshetra — the doyen of Bharatanatyam who passed away on 14 July 2014. The late Lakshman had been taught by Rukmini Devi Arundale, among others. Kushari and Sujatha Ramlingam — also a disciple of the great maestro — performed a Tillana, a rhythmic piece in Carnatic music, composed by the grandmaster. The charanam consisting of a brief one-line sahitya was sung thrice — giving a word to word translation of the music into dance in the first line while rendering it in tattu metu adavu in the second. The sahitya was about Krishna playing with the gopis watched by Radha, who also joins in.
Ramlingam and Kushari performed natanam adinar in honour of Nataraja in an exquisite and arresting Kalakshetra style. Ramlingam, costumed in red, and Kush, in cream with a border of gold, danced a Ganapati todayam in praise of Maheswara putra and offered their reverence and obeisance to Vigna vinayaka. As they performed, the audience watched, evidently spellbound.
The piece-de-resistance that enthralled rasikas was Prakriti Purush or Shiva Shakti. Indian philosophy visualises Purush prakriti as a manifestation of the entire divine consciousness, two different sides of the same coin. Purush symbolises consciousness — a masculine feature — while prakriti, the activating power and energy. It will be a mistake to consider any one part to be superior to the other as harmony is achieved only if both are balanced. It was a challenging piece to work with, but it was a grand success by the sheer grandeur created on stage with some really good pieces of dance. He was excellent as a performer, teacher and choreographer. Each dance number was woven with powerful Bharatnatyam jatis and abhinaya. The stotras extracted from the Shiva Purana and the usage of Vedic chants created an atmosphere that mesmerised the audience. The city should be proud of Kushari and his repertory group for their mammoth production. Arup Chakraborty, Prerna Gangopadhaya, Sourav De and others made a visual impact with their flawless renditions. The dancers in Kushari&’s group were powerful and must surely have put in hours of work for a production of such magnitude.
Moving on, Kathak dancer Sourav Chakroborty&’s school, Nrityodisha, presented Anondo Sandhya at Gyan Manch. It kicked off with the Rabindrasangeet Anandadhara bohiche bhubane, penned in 1894, from the puja section of the poet&’s works in raga Misra Malkosh, sung in the style of khyal and taal tritaal.
Shiva Stuti in praise of Shambhu Bholanath Mahayaogi was intermingled with the choicest Kathak bols. Adi anta Shiva, Hara Hara Mahadeva was short but sweet and the popular song, Maiya mori main ahi makhan khayo, performed by young learners, came in for much applause and encouragement. In the taranam, dhim dhim tana dherena was fused with modern music and performed with elan. Dancers in pink flowing costumes and cream coloured dupattas, hanging gracefully from one shoulder, bowled the audience over with Kathak ayam in teentaal. It was a heady visual extravaganza with a quick change of scene when green costumed dancers with green patchwork design to cover the torso glided in to perform Dhamar tarana.
The selection of a cluster of songs from Varsha ritu (the monsoon) was significant as the rains have arrived with all their bounty in this part of the world. It commenced with the Rabindrasangeet, Mono mor meghero sangi, written for the Varsha mangal celebrations of 1939, in raga Malhar and taal Kaharba. The dancers practically floated like clouds and beauty was created by the sheer numbers, before the advent of half-a-dozen girls and a male dancer who took the stage to perform in the Kathak form. More bhavanare ki haoaye matalo, in Gour malhar was performed by enhancing imageries of the rains by interspersing it with the lyrics, Ghana ghore ghore ghir aye ghata, ban ban shore kar rahi in an impressive way. Thunder and lightning were represented before breaking into song and dance as Barshan lagi saon bundiya, tare bina lagana ankhiya gave a complete view of the beauty of the rains. It was brought to a close with a duet by Chakraborty and Sushmita Chatterjee, Jharo jharo borishe bari dhara in raga Megh, which was translated into English by the Bard himself, “Ceaseless is the welter of rain that wearies the sky/ Alas! For the forsaken! Alas, for the homeless wanderer!”
The best piece presented during the course of the evening was fluid poetry or poetry in motion by Chakraborty and Chatterjee from Tagore&’s poem, Anonto Prem (Eternal Love) where verses and songs such as Tomarei bhalobesechi, tumi ki keboli chabi and Aamaro parano jaha chaye tumi tai were recited to create an aura of mystery. The hero goes into a trance and the thin veil of illusion is shattered with the realisation of the real. The theme of eternal love transcending everything was authentically portrayed through the power of dance, light, sound, stage décor, costumes and music. Anirban Jyoti, composed as well as sung by Rabindrasangeet exponent Agnibho Bandopadhayay, was the grand finale of the evening, which constituted praying for peace to descend upon the world and combine everybody in a common bond of friendship and amity. A bevy of talented dancers, Apurba Dutta, Ayantika Bag, Juiem Bhattacharya, Rajib Ghosh, Dristi Banerjee, Ishani Dasgupta, and others captivated the audience.