Pavitra Bhat's elevating performance
- Vijay Shanker, Mumbai

August 15, 2012

As part of the Umang series of performances, sponsored by the Seksaria Foundation and presented by the National Centre of Performing Arts, Mumbai's leading male dancer Pavitra Bhat presented a Bharatanatyam recital at the NCPA’s Little theatre on 10th August. Right from the 'pravesam' till the ultimate mangalam, Pavitra performed with lot of involvement and devotion, winning applause from the select and elite audience.

Pavitra Bhat is the ardent disciple of renowned Bharatanatyam exponent Guru Deepak Mazumdar. Pavitra is not only a performer but also a choreographer and teacher of merit. He has established the Pavitra Arts Visual Institute (PAVI) in Dombivli and trains several aspirants. The program was entitled Hari-Hara incorporating the concept of both Shaivism and Vaishnavism, providing completeness to the entire program. After the invocatory prayers to Lord Ganapati, the dancer commenced his performance with Melaprapti, followed by Shankaracharya’s Panchaakshara Shloka that was cleverly interwoven with the traditional Alarippu, forming a fine synthesis between divinity and the structural quality of Bharatanatyam. Pavitra dances with lot of vivaciousness and vitality that captures the attention of the audience consistently, without any faltering whatsoever. Classical dance being a visual art, it is always a pleasure to watch one dance not only perfectly but also maintain the aramandi and angashuddi throughout the performance, which indeed is a rare attribute these days.

The Ritigoula Varnam, a kriti in praise of Lord Krishna, portrayed the complete character sketch of the Lord, commencing with the birth of the Lord on a rainy midnight and until his adulthood projecting the Vishwaroopadarshanam in the presence of Arjuna who initially refuses the fight against adharma. The dramatic episodes presented were the demoness Poothana who tries to kill the infant Krishna but attains moksham, the killing of the serpent Kaliya, the lifting of the mountain Govardhana for the protection of the people and ultimately the battle at Kurukshetra. While Pavitra was commendable in the dramatization of the episodes, the Varnam reached sublime heights due to the soul stirring vocal support rendered by Chennai based vocalist Hariprasad. In fact, this number was the piece-de-resistance of the evening. The choreography of intricate rhythmic patterns, while portraying the Lord was amazing, and the credit undoubtedly goes to Guru Deepak Mazumdar.

Another Kriti in Hindolam, “Uma Ramana” depicted the attributes of both Vishnu and Shiva. While Vishnu has Lakshmi as his consort, Shiva has Parvati as his consort. While Vishnu's body is smeared with chandana, Shiva's body is smeared with bhasma. This composition by Tulsidas vividly described the personality of both the gods. Pavitra concluded the performance with the intricate Vrindavana Saranga Thillana winning thundering applause from the audience. Pavitra received fine orchestral support from Guru Deepak Mazumdar on nattuvangam, vocal by Hariprasad, mridangam by Satish Krishnamurthy and flute by Ravi Anantharaman. It is a nice gesture on the part of NCPA to encourage such young and brilliant dancers.

Vijay Shanker is a Kuchipudi performer and teacher based in Mumbai.