An impressive finale for Mohini Nrityati
Text & Photos: Rakesh S, Thiruvananthapuram

December 26, 2012

The five day long Mohiniattam festival Mohini Nrityati organised by Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy concluded here at Soorya Avenue, Thycaud, with an impressive performance by Mohiniattam exponent Dr. Neena Prasad. She started off the day's Mohiniattam Margam with a traditional cholkettu followed by a Ganesha Sthuthi with Sri Sankaracharya’s lyrics from Ganesha Pancharatna. The composition was set in ragamalika and thalamalika, with a cluster of ragas and set of rhythms.

If a performer goes beyond the conventional orthodox structure of art with experimental compositions in a classical dance form, it would surely take him/her and the dance form concerned to newer horizons. The second item of the night showcased a deliberate deviation from the conventional ‘sringara bhavam’ in Mohiniattam.

The major attraction of the night was a padavarnam ‘Sakhe! Krishna Sakhe’ written by the famous mridangam artist Anchal Raveendran, based on Pratibha Ray’s renowned Odissi novel, Yajnaseni. The padavarnam set in Lathangi raga portrayed an excerpt from the novel in which Draupadi writes a letter to Krishna after she falls down on her way to heaven. She believes that she was deprived of justice in her past life. She is saddened by the humiliating experiences in life that she had to go through in front of her five husbands.

In the last part of the Varnam, Draupadi asks Krishna to bless her next life as an ordinary woman in which she believes she would be able to live through the various phases in a woman’s life including the childhood she never had in her past life. She wishes to have a single husband and children who would do good to the society. Neena Prasad succeeded in the palatable portrayal of the various shades of Draupadi.

She concluded the performance with a thillana, ‘Mohanam Thava Muraleenaadham’ in raga Behag and a mangalam ‘Bhujagasayinam Naadamangalam.’ The musician who composed all the three items of the night, Changanassery Madhavan Nampoothiri, accompanied the dancer on  vocal, Kadanad V K Haridas and Vyppin Satheesh were on violin and mridangam respectively.

Mohini Nrityati also featured solo performances of wonderful artists like Pallavi Krishnan, Jayaprabha Menon and Nandita Prabhu, and duet performance of Sandra Pisharody and Parvathy Sreevallabhan during the five day long fete.