The vibrant Drishti Dance Festival
- Rajarathnam Sastry
Photos courtesy: Drishti

January 30, 2012

Anuradha Vikranth

Drishti Art Foundation organized the seventh Drishti Dance Festival on 21st January 2012 at Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Bangalore. Known for its beautiful presentations of Indian classical dance, it is a much awaited event in Bangalore. It is a delight to watch art lovers throng in hundreds to attend this festival year after year.  One gets to witness spectacular performances of classical dance styles on one platform making even the lay man appreciate the Indian classical arts. This is truly a worthy contribution by the husband and wife duo Anuradha Vikranth and TM Vikranth, who have carved a niche for themselves in the field of art.

This year’s festival featured Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak and Odissi. At the beginning of the program, renowned flautist Dwarki Krishnaswamy was felicitated for her contribution to the field of dance and music. This was followed by Pushpanjali presented by the Drishti ensemble, disciples of Anuradha Vikranth. It was perfectly coordinated and well choreographed and was a good start to the program.

Anuradha stole the hearts of the audience with her performance in “Krishnam Vande Jagadguru,” a composition of Purandara Dasa in Ragamalika-adi tala. She portrayed three episodes from the Bhagavatha. In the first, she presented ‘Poothani Samhara.’ Her quick transformation from the loving mother Yashoda to the cruel Poothani in this piece was commendable. In Kalinga Mardhana, Krishna kills the dangerous serpent Kalinga. The final act of Mohini Bhasmasura was a treat to watch. The charis and karanas Anuradha used were beautiful. As a solo dancer, all the characters she played were well emoted.                             

The next was a Kathak performance by Anuj Mishra and group. They presented ‘Krishnarang’ which included four breathtaking pieces. The first one was Raas and this depicted the playfulness of Krishna and his relationship with gopikas. The dancers with colorful costumes made beautiful formations. Then they presented ‘Dhruth le’ with some fine bandishes of the Lucknow gharana, characterized by graceful movements, elegance and natural poise. ‘Shyam Re’ and ‘Prem’ were a   fusion of Kathak, flamenco, ballet and contemporary dance. The highlight was the 150 chakkars Anuj presented during his performance.

Anuj Mishra
Anuj Mishra’s group

The next piece ‘Sangam - the Rhythm’ was presented by four well known dancers of Bangalore. Sangam was an attempt to highlight each segment of abhinaya through their solos in four distinct classical dance forms. Angika by BP Sweekruth presenting Kathak, Vachika  by Shama Krishna presenting Kuchipudi, Aharya by Madhulita Mohapatra presenting Odissi, Sattvika by Seshadri Iyengar presenting Bharatanatyam. Each dancer was at their best.

Seshadri Iyengar

BP Sweekruth

Shama Krishna

Madhulita Mohapatra

Seshadri Iyengar performed for the kriti “Kadagola tharenna chinnave” bringing out the essence of Sathvika abhinaya effectively. His neat lines while delivering nritta was a treat to watch. Shama Krishna emphasized on Vachika, the use of speech in Kuchipudi. Sathyabhama refuses to take the name of her husband out of respect and describes his attributes without taking his name directly. Senior dance guru Veena Murthy Vijay as a suthradhara complemented this piece beautifully. Sweekruth presented highlights of Angikaabhinya through a composition called Mahadeva describing the Tandava aspect of Lord Shiva, with beautiful costume and lighting. Aharya also being one of the foremost aspects for all the classical styles was gracefully portrayed by Madhulita Mohapatra in Pallavi in Odissi style. The best part was when all the dance styles came together highlighting the rhythmic element of each style in Sangam.

‘Sangam - the Rhythm’

We got to watch beautiful performances but it would have been nice if the stage function was held in between the three programs rather than the beginning of the program as the art lovers were getting restless to watch the dance. Instead of mostly Krishna items, the evening’s presentations could have been more varied had the artistes discussed earlier about what they would present and choose their dance items accordingly.

Rajarathnam Sastry is a freelance journalist and ardent connoisseur of classical dance and music.