When the universal language of music and dance combined with devotion is presented, associating with birth anniversaries, or aradhanas of saint composers, and savants, the entire atmosphere is filled with godliness. Such was the scenario at Krishna Gana Sabha, when the birth anniversary of late Yagnaraman, the founder member and general secretary of the Sabha for more than five decades, was celebrated.
‘Yagnaraman, July festival 2013’, was a festival of confluence of various forms and artistes of classical, folk and contemporary arts.
We are aware that according to Indian mythology, women posses great courage, stamina, determination and power. The presentation of Tejasa in this festival, featuring the women of the epic Ramayana, a ninety-minute production, seamlessly intertwined dance and narration, which was unique in itself as women have been a focal point and the epic evolves and revolves around it.
It was in essence, the retelling of the Ramayana from an important perspective in its universality. The four women of Ramayana Sita, Kaikeyi, Surpanakha and Mandodari were beautifully portrayed. Each narrated their story, reflecting the composite nature, conflicts and compositions of a woman, as well as their inherent strength, with claim to dignity and respect.
Odissi dancer Ranjana Gaur, donning the role of Sita, opened the act depicting Sita as the one pining for Rama. Expressing contrasting feelings and variegated shades as the chief narrator, she weaved the epic struggle, of these four women, in and out of Ramayana, as she transported them from age to age, into the present and to the future.
Indrani Mukherji in Kathak as Kaikeyi with expressive bhava revealed the cruel desire of making her son Bharatha, the King, which made ‘Ramayana’ the epic of self discovery.
The role adorned by Gopika Varma (Mohini Attam) as Surpanakha, Ravana’s sister, needs special mention, as she was the arrow that set the action of events in motion, leading directly, to the destruction in Ramayana.
Deepika Reddy as Mandodari (Kuchipudi), exhibited the differing emotions explicitly, as she faced the double tragedy of losing her son (Indrajit) and husband (Ravana).
The team certainly scored in this programme, as we were able to feel the seamless continuity and quality of production, with its attention to details, perfection, translating matter in relevant places prompting the audience to experience the emotions.