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Double Bill - Maruti and Manushi
- Satish Suri
Photos: Prof.K.S.Krishnamurthy

March 26, 2024

On March 3rd, Nrityaankur Bangalore presented a double bill of solo Bharatanatyam margams at Seva Sadan. The performances featured two distinct presentations: 'Maruti' by Akshata Viswanathan, a talented disciple of Parshwanath Upadhye and 'Manushi' by Radhika Shetty.

'Maruti' stands as a deeply inspired and culturally rich presentation that draws its essence from the Kishkinda Kanda and Sundara Kanda of Valmiki's Ramayana. With a predominant use of Sanskrit lyrics and following the margam format, this performance offered a captivating exploration of Hanuman's perspective, inviting the audience to embark on a profound journey through the epic from his vantage point.

Akshata Viswanathan
Akshata Viswanathan

The presentation unfolded with the Vanara Sena's deep concern about rescuing Sita following her abduction by the demon King Ravana. A poignant deliberation arises within the Sena regarding the possibility of crossing the Maha Samudra to search for Sita, ultimately recognizing that only Maruti possesses the extraordinary ability to undertake this daunting task. However, a compelling curse causes Maruti to forget his exceptional powers unless reminded of them, setting the stage for the unfolding narrative. As the wise minister of Sugriva and the mentor of Hanuman, Jambavaan plays a pivotal role in guiding and reminding Hanuman of his exceptional qualities, particularly his profound affection and unwavering devotion towards Lord Rama. These episodes form the sancharis in the production, offering insights into Hanuman's character and the guidance he receives.

The exposition then transitions to Hanuman assuming his majestic form as Vayuputra, leading the narrative into the subsequent phases of the performance, where the depth of his devotion and his remarkable capabilities were vividly depicted, offering a captivating portrayal of his unwavering commitment and reverence.

Akshata Viswanathan's performance in 'Maruti' showcased her mastery of the dance form. She skillfully incorporated vachika abhinaya, enhancing the storytelling with spoken words. Her precise footwork, rhythmic patterns, and synchronized movements demonstrated technical prowess. The recorded music provided a seamless integration, setting the mood and enhancing the overall impact.

The thematic presentation 'Manushi - A Quest' by Radhika Shetty, offered a profound exploration of the timeless narratives of four remarkable women, each embarking on a journey of unfulfilled desires and unwavering determination. Through her artistic expression, Radhika skillfully portrayed the eternal search for fulfilment and purpose, capturing the emotional depth and complexities of each character's narrative.

Radhika Shetty
Radhika Shetty

The portrayal of River Saraswati's journey, from her revered status as the cradle of Vedic culture to her present enigmatic existence as "Gupta Gamini," evokeed a poignant reflection on the passage of time and the mysteries of life. Radhika's expressions, accompanied by evocative lyrics, artfully captured the essence of Saraswati's vibrant past and her present enigma. Moving on to the exposition of Meerabai, Radhika delved into the unquenchable longing for Krishna through soul-stirring bhajans. Her portrayal of Meera's devotion, frustration, and ultimate surrender encapsulated the emotional rollercoaster of longing and spiritual devotion.

The exploration of Devaki's perspective as Krishna's biological mother, complemented by stanzas from Kulasekara Azhwar's 'Perumal Thirumozhi', conveyed Devaki's profound pain and the complexities of her relationship with Krishna and her unfulfilled maternal experiences. Finally, Radhika concluded with a rendition of Akka Mahadevi's unwavering devotion and desire for spiritual union with God, incorporating select vachanas in a Thillana. This segment, enriched by rhythmic inputs, captured the essence of Akka Mahadevi's relentless pursuit of liberation, offering a powerful culmination to the thematic presentation.

Together, the live music ensemble consisting of Rohit Bhat Uppoor (vocal), Vidyashree Radhakrishna (nattuvangam), Vinay Nagarajan (mridangam) and Nitish Ammanaya (flute) played a vital role in embellishing the presentation.

Satish Suri
Bangalore based Satish Suri is an avid dance rasika besides being a life member of the Music and Arts Society.

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