Nritya Chilume: A real feast for the eyes
- Probal Gupta, Bangalore

November 22, 2009 

Featuring celebrated and well established artists in dance festivals is a regular feature all over the globe. Unique is Ananya, a well known cultural organization in Bangalore headed by one of Bangalore's art connoisseurs, Dr. Raghavendra, who assisted by  Pratibha Ramaswamy, a Bharatanatyam dancer herself,  conducts three different dance festivals. 'Nritya Dhare' featuring talented, upcoming artistes, 'Nritya Vaibhava' for seniors who have already established themselves in their respective genres and 'Nritya Chilume'  which literally means "streams," for the youngsters. Kudos to Pratibha for doing such a tough job of selecting artistes of high caliber. 
The festival had a grand opening with a Bharatanatyam recital by Anusha K Raju, disciple of Satyanarayana Raju. Commencing her recital with a Saraswati Stuthi in Raag Saraswati set to Adi tala, the dancer proved her versatility with brisk steps, awesome stances with excellent grace. Moving on to a Varnam which the guru intelligently made her to start from "Gopa Gopi Swaro Gopi Surya Koti Samaprabaha" to suit with the time slot provided by the organizer, instead of starting from the beginning of "Sri Krishna Kamalanatho" composed by Late Guru Narmada, added dynamism to the Bharatanatyam repertoire she presented, this item being a crowning piece. Anusha’s perseverance towards the dance form she specializes in and the excellent abhinaya that she has been endowed with from her guru became evident in the Geetopodesham episode showcasing the "Viswaroopa Darshana" of Lord Krishna. Above all, the vocalist's clear diction and P Praveen Kumar's skilled nattuvangam with his excellent voice modulation while uttering the jathis, speaks for a rounded performance.

The festival followed with a Bharatanatyam recital of Meghana R, disciple of Guru Jyothi Pattabhiraman. Commencing her recital with a Ganesha Stuti set to Raag Mohana in Adi tala, the dancer moved on to Jathiswaram, followed by a Devarnama in praise of Lord Krishna in Raag Jaunpuri set to Adi tala. 

A mesmerizing Kathak performance by Aditi Ashok, was refreshing amidst the many Bharatanatyam recitals.  Aditi, apart from being trained in Kathak, is also trained in Bharatanatyam under her father Ashok. More mature as compared to the other performers of the festival, the performance of this disciple of the dancer duo Nirupama and Rajendra can definitely be considered as the best performance of the evening. Tastefully costumed, this young, dynamic dancer commenced her recital with Ganesha Vandana, popularised by the lyrics "Om Gam Ganapathayae Namaha" which merged lyrically in a stuti in praise of Lord Shiva. Her natural flair for dancing was represented with excellent footwork, usage of neck movements with the rhythmic beats of the music before commencement of an item. It is worthwhile to mention, that even though she's trained in Bharatanatyam, this artiste never exhibited any of its sway in Kathak, thereby adding vivacity to her performance. Next followed the Teen Taal, a pure dance number in Kathak with initial verses "Shanta Karam Bhujaga Shayanam" exhibiting good balance, exquisite chakkars and concluding with a Tarana, composed by Guru Maya Rao in Raag Darbari set to Teen Taal with the musical composition by Dagar Brothers. 

The concluding performance of the evening was a Bharatanatyam recital by Rasika Kiran, daughter of the dancer duo Kiran Subramaniam and Sandhya Kiran. The introduction by her father in English humbly requesting the blessings from the rasikas gave an emotional start up for her solo performance. Commencing her recital with a Pushpanjali choreographed by Kiran Subramaniam in Raag Kadhyothkanthi set to Adi Talam, composed by BR Sheshadri, set to music by Thirumalai Srinivas, the dancer moved on to a slokam from Rudra Namavali invoking the master of the Universe, Lord Shiva, set to Raag Revathi.  "Kanchadalayadakshi," a Devi stuti in Raag Kamalamanohari in Adi tala was composed by her mother and guru Sandhya Kiran. The dancer proved her mettle in the concluding piece of the evening's recital, the Maduvanthi Thillana, a composition by Lalgudi Jayaraman choreographed by Kiran. High quality recorded music with awesome vocal support provided by Srivatsa added an overall dynamism to her performance. Surya N Rao, a multi talented dancer /artist in all forms of art including stage designing and lighting, was also felicitated in this occasion.

Probal Gupta trained in Kathakali under two legends Late Kalamandalam Govindan Kutty and Guru Fact Padmanabhan under whom he is presently continuing his specialization in Stree Vesham genre of Kathakali. He has also been a student of Bharati Shivaji. His active performance career has taken him to prestigious dance festivals. He is an empanelled artist of Doordarshan and has established a Solo Margam for Stree Vesham Kathakali under the able guidance of his Guru Fact Padmanabhan. Probal is a graduate in English Hons from the University of Kolkata.