Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Staging ‘Usha Parinayam’ in the Kuchipudi-Yakshagana style

From ‘Usha Parinayam’

From ‘Usha Parinayam’
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The audience that filled the K. T. Mohammed Smaraka Theatre in Thrissur sat spellbound for two hours, watching the animated performance of 12 dancers who staged ‘Usha Parinayam’ in the Kuchipudi Yakshagana style. Interestingly, many of them did not realise that they were standing testimony to a historic situation as the art form was being presented outside the celebrated village in Andhra Pradesh for the first time. Also the dancers were all girls, as against the traditional performers who were all male Brahmins.

“This is the result of efforts made under the guidance of guru Pasumarthi Rattiah Sharma, who is keen to popularise this century-old dance drama, which is on the verge of extinction owing to non-availability of dancers in the land of its origin,” said Sreelakshmi Govardhanan, Kuchipudi dancer and director of the Thrissur-based ‘Avantika’.

From ‘Usha Parinayam’ in Yakshagana style

From ‘Usha Parinayam’ in Yakshagana style
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

The leitmotif of the play is the union of Usha, the daughter of the mighty Asura king Banasura and Anirudha, the grandson of Krishna. It entails two parts: First, Banasura winning boon from Shiva and the second, the solemnisation of the Usha-Anirudha marriage.

The whole show was a demonstration of the confluence of nritta, nrithya, natya and dialogue.

Praiseworthy was the role of suthradhara played by guru Sharma himself, attired in the traditional costume. He announced the entry of Banasura whose pravesa dharuva spoke for the valour of the character. Usha’s entry and her dance along with maids were impressive too.

Perhaps the hero of the show was guru Sharma himself whose intermittent explanations and energetic nattuvangam will remain etched on the mind of the audience.

Meenakshi Ayswarya (Banasura), Souparnika Nambiar (Usha), Karthika Madhavi (Chitralekha) and Kavya Harish (Anirudha) were the main dancers. Musicians included Adarsh (vocal), Murali Sangeeth (violin) and Sreerag (mridangam).

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