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Scintillating performance by Yamini Reddy
- Vijay Shanker

September 7, 2023

After a long lapse, I had the privilege of witnessing the scintillating Kuchipudi performance by Yamini Reddy at the Cube auditorium of Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre in Mumbai on 5th August. Besides the technical perfection, effortless quality of performance with striking movements, the highlight was the vivacious aspect that was predominant throughout the performance.

I used to watch Yamini as a young girl, when I was seeking guidance from her eminent parents, Gurus Raja-Radha and Kaushalya Reddy at the Natya Tarangini Institute in New Delhi. I also had the honour of being the only male disciple to be featured in the documentary film of Raja and Radha Reddy, produced by the Films Division. To observe how Yamini has bloomed into a fine professional exponent is amazing.

Yamini Reddy
Yamini Reddy

Yamini commenced her performance with an Oothukadu composition Harihara Madhava as a form of invocation, followed with a Dashavatara incorporating the story telling concept, while portraying the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu like Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Rama, Buddha etc. It was a pleasure to watch how Yamini would transform herself into the different angika abhinaya to picturise the avatara, while maintaining and executing rhythmic movements in precision.

In Tulsidas Ramayana composition "Ram charan sukh dayi" (Awadh Hindi) in praise of Lord Rama, while describing various scenes in the life of Lord Rama, along with the recitation of some verses, the highlight was when Lord Rama offers his ring to the boatman for taking him across; the boatman is embarrassed and refuses to take it but he is blessed and assured that he will be helped whenever necessary.

Yamini Reddy and group
Yamini Reddy and group

The finale number was "Rasasabdam - Marakata Manimaye" by Ootthukadu Venkata Subbaiyer in praise of Krishna, his mischievous pranks, culminating with the intricate Tarangam, which was the most exciting experience of the evening, as two young talented dancers accompanied Yamini to complete the rhythmic movements while dancing on the rim of the brass plate. As Kaushalya Reddy recited the complex jathis, the dancers would immediately execute the same with perfection along with the musical support on the mridangam.

The dancers received fine orchestral support from the young team of talented musicians - Ravikant for commendable singing, Manohar Bhat on mridangam, Raghavendra on the violin, and Guru Kaushalya Reddy on nattuvangam. On the whole it was a scintillating performance.

Vijay Shankar
Vijay Shankar is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.

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