The form was essentially Kuchipudi, but the tunes one heard during the presentation of ‘Samarpan’ were not just Deccani. There were strains from upcountry, there was even an Occidental score. Thus, the two-hour dance ensemble presented by Madhav Pedhi Murthy and Shobha Natrajan besides six young dancers as a tribute to the art’s patriarch Vempatti Chinnasathyam on the occasion of his having turned 80 sent out more messages than one.
One, that Kuchipudi can intelligently incorporate tonal elements from beyond the south — even the country. Plus, that it wouldn’t be at the cost of the guru-shishya equations.
In fact, the very opening piece by the group of dancers at Brahma Gana Sabha on December 27 was revelatory. They presented a Surdas Bhajan, Gaayiye Ganpati, dishing out a visual treat in terms of formations and patterns. This was followed by Jagadanandakaraka, one of Saint Thyagarja’s Pancharatna Kirtanas choreographed by veteran Chinnasathyam himself. Lord Rama’s story was shown nicely with crisp abhinaya, yet in detail.
A tarangam that succeeded showed glimpses of good choreography, but was messy in parts. This was followed by a combination of a ghazal in kuchipudi form! Murthy did a wonderful job as the wistful hero singing for his ladylove. Every time O S Arun crooned Shabnam Kahoon, Sholah Kahoon to the plucks on the sitar and the pakhawaj beats, we saw the apt depiction of the emotion by the dancer.
Then came a typical kuchipudi-style javali in Mohanam. Mohamella, a solo piece by Shobha Natrajan, essayed sarcasm and sardonic humour that filled the nayika’s angry dialogue with her unfaithful man. This was followed by one more fusion-style piece: Kuchipudi to the tunes of Greek composer Yanni!
Another Surdas bhajan, Gopi Gopala bala, was enjoyable even as the performance ended with a tillana by Balamuralikrishna in Poorvi. Overall nice, one only thought the costumes could’ve been less garish and the makeup a little more finished.