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Geeta Govindam

Soumya Ramanathan

On may 22nd Academy of Performing Arts presented Gita Govindam,a production by Abhinaya Sudha. The program started with a sloka/prayer on Dashavataram, Indira suggesting the 10 incarnations of the Lord Vishnu ,suitable way to start the drama.

A Brief narration introduces Jayadeva's Gita Govindam and the drama opens to Radha and Sakhi playing together and Radha decsribing her love for Kirshna.

The delicate dialog on adoration, love,desire were potrayed sensitively. Seeing Madhava with gopikas in love play,the dejected Radha denounces everything in life and starts to beleive that death is her only saviour. Her tragic condition and the way Radha, as any heartbroken girl pours her sorrow to sakhi, established the fact that the text and dance are as comtemporary as they are classical. The similis were straightforward but beautifully brought out the intense feeling of separation. Sakhi conveys Radha's terrible state and pursuades Krishna to unite with her.Krishna realising how much he had hurt Radha,rushes to her side. He Cajols Radha to come to him, but stubborn Radha refuses. Krishna as a playful companion for the gopikas,as a man who realises his folly and expresses his desire to be with Radha, needs to be potrayed in a restrained but very effective manner as Krishna is ultimately, The Lord. Sangita's potrayal of Krishna brought out so many hues of Krishna, that one could see Krishna as a lover, at the same time as the Protector.

Sakhi convinces Radha that she must follow her purpose in life and unite with Madhava. The charming ways of Krishna melts Radha's heart and she wholeheartedly unites with Krishna. Just as each of us have shades of Mugdha and Madhyama, Sakhi and Radha had shades of playful, optimistic girls as well as intense, determined outlook to their lives. Indira as the sakhi brought out the fact that a friend is someone who is always with you, guiding your path. As a sakhi, who listens to Radha's love stories with enthusiasm,as a messenger of love, as the person who brings back Radha to her senses, Indira was brilliant.

Priyadarshini could tell us who Radha was, a girl who believes that purpose in life was to unite with Krishna,and how Radha had to go through all the emotions that are relevant to everyone, to unite with the Paramathma.

Such an emtionally charged production, had to be carried off fully by the dance, the music was a led down, lacking bhava in entirety. Narration between the scenes was very effective and helped weave the story well. While there maybe a need for sparkling leaps and sculptorousque poses to produce a successful Bharathnatyam production these days, the fact that such an involving production was carried out only on Abhinaya gives us an idea of how well they have been trained by Kalanidhi mami.

Bharathnatyam being taught in a very structured manner, its important for anybody pursuing the art to bring out their own style to be an artist. In this regard, all three dancers proved to be accomplished artists.

(Soumya Ramanathan is a bharatanatyam dancer who teaches dance in the New England area. )

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