Probal Gupta in a stree vesham dance recital at Kolkata
- Nita Vidyarthi, Kolkata

February 16, 2011

Padatik Dance Centre presented Probal Gupta of Kolkata now residing in Bangalore in a solo Kathakali recital at the Centre's Buildwell Theatre. Initially trained by Guru Kalamandalam Govindan Kutty, Probal is pursuing his training in Kathakali specializing in stree vesham under Guru FACT Padmanabham from Kerala (Ernakulam) and has recently been awarded with the ‘Swara Kala Gaurav Award' in Bangalore for his efforts to establish Kathakali in Karnataka.

His one hour solo recital followed the traditional margam in full gorgeous costume, complete with a veil, beginning with the invocatory Thodayam - the Poorvaranga – a pure dance item with "Vidinita vamanarupa" in tala Chempada (Lord Ganesh), "Jaya bala Gopala" in Jhampa (Krishna) and an impressive "Janani mama Jagadishwari" (Mookambika) and triple salutation in Tripuda. Probal encapsulated the presentation into two padams and an experimental number set to the famous hymn "Vaishnava Janato" by Narsi Mehta.

The dancer displayed his skills and training in the pure dance item and his ability to express Karunya rasa in the first padam from Duryodhana Vadam, "Padmalaya patey pahimam harey" where Panchali pleads with Krishna to take revenge for her humiliation and torture by Duryodhana. The rendition in tala Chempada and raga Navarasam with music in the Sopanam style (Bhava Sangitam) brought out the dancer's angika abhinaya especially of the eyes vividly. Probal performed a Chitapadam, "Narakasura Vadham" with a sari as a prelude. The piece in ragamalika, tala chempada was based on the story of the seduction of Jayantanan, son of Lord Indra by the demoness (Rakshasi) Nakhratundi after being transformed into the beautiful Lalita. The dancer enlivened the seductive padam and attempted to portray the sambhoga shringara and the piece was fairly well dramatized. The coquettish gestures need to be refined but the portrayal of wildness and rage as Nakhratundi showed good control of facial muscles. In the concluding item he adapted the sopanam style to some extent maintaining the original music beginning in the slow tempo and then gradually speeding up. A well attempted recital of stree vesham not often seen in the city.