- Madhuri Sarkar
Photos: Sreekanth H J
April 4, 2022
Darshan Shankar is a young promising Bharatnatyam dancer from Bangalore. He is the founder and director of Kapardhini School of Divine Dancing. On March 13, at ADA Rangamandira, he organized Kapardhini 2022, a festival of Indian classical dances featuring distinguished dancers like Madhulita Mohapatra, Nirupama-Rajendra, Sathyanarayana Raju and Darshan himself. It was a great pleasure for the audience to witness the live festival as stage shows went on a toss for the past two years during the pandemic. The chief guests were Guru Radha Sridhar and Dr. S Nataraj Murthy.
The festival begun with the Odissi dancer Madhulita Mohapatra's invocatory piece based on the verses from the popular Jagannatha Ashtakam, believed to have been written by Adi Shankaracharya. Blessed with stage presence, Madhulita showed immense control over this dance form through her choreography. She concluded her recital with a choreography by Aruna Mohanty. The item narrated about God as the only universal truth which can manifest in any form, be it the way he saved mankind and life on earth by taking the drowning ark onshore safely or Gajendra, the elephant at the jaws of a crocodile. He safeguarded Draupadi's honour at Kurusabha after the game of dice.
Rajendra and Nirupama
Nirupama and Rajendra, the dancer couple who never fail to surprise the audience with their astounding performances, were no different this time as well. Rich music, beautiful choreography, colourful costumes, mindful use of lights have always been a part of their presentations. They started their Kathak performance with an Abhang, which are devotional Marathi chants praising the Hindu god Vitthala or Vithoba and his consort Rakhumai. The duo presented a distinctive concept of how Abhisar can be for everything one follows to reach the ultimate goal. Here it was the 'Abhisar' of a river that flows through its journey to meet the ocean. They concluded with a composition by Mysore Manjunath, where they presented different Rasas as a part of life. While Rajendra was subtle and precise in his abhinaya as a Kathak essential, Nirupama went a little overboard in her expressions overall.
As the compère rightly mentioned, Sathyanarayana Raju needed no introduction. He performed a Varnam in ragam Shanmukhapriya, adi talam composed by Veenai Shesha Iyer. The composition was in praise of the cosmic dancing of Lord Nataraja, who dances his Ananda Tandavam at Chidambaram. The devotee pines for the gracious lord to bestow his mercy upon him and elevate the soul. Sathyanarayana Raju kept the audience engaged with his effortless and flawless Bharatanatyam movements and remarkable expressions. As the previous artistes took longer than the stipulated time, he cut short his performance to support dancer Darshan who was next. This kind gesture of Sathyanarayana Raju toward a younger artiste deserves acknowledgement and applause.
The evening ended with Darshan Shankar's solo production Dasyam. It was a rich Sanskrit composition where the devotee surrenders to Lord Krishna and awaits his favours, how Hanuman received from Krishna in Dwaparayuga and Kanakadasa in Udupi. Darshan's expressions as Hanuman and his pious looks as Kanakadasa were noteworthy. He showed potential brilliance throughout his repertoire. He could refine his performance further, enhancing confidence and connection with the audience.
Madhuri Sarkar, disciple of Sarbani Ghosh and Vyjayanthi Kashi, is a Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi practitioner, She is the Founder /Director of Nigamsudha Performing Arts, Bangalore.