Mohiniyattam gives ‘womanhood’ a sturdy platform

The text holds significance historically and continues to make its place in the present times because of its remarkable lyrical and poetic robustness.

Published: 05th November 2019 08:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th November 2019 08:52 AM   |  A+A-

Dr Sunanda Nair the first in India to acquire a Masters degree in Mohiniyattam.

Dr Sunanda Nair the first in India to acquire a Masters degree in Mohiniyattam.

Dr Sunanda Nair says she’s still a student despite being the first in India to acquire a Masters degree in Mohiniyattam. At the threshold of Namamrtam, her upcoming dance presentation presented by the Navaneetham Cultural Trust, she invites patrons of the arts to behold her humble ode to Narayaniyam, a popular and celebrated medieval text in Sanskrit by revered poet Melpathur Narayana Bhattatiripada.

In his 100 dasakams or cantos here, Bhattatiripada praises Lord Narayana. “Each contains about 10 verses which emphasise on the incarnations of Lord Vishnu and all achieve a soulful and devotional fervour by surrendering completely to the Lord,” reveals Nair.

The text holds significance historically and continues to make its place in the present times because of its remarkable lyrical and poetic robustness.

“The final episode is an exceptional one as it takes us on a picturesque description of Lord Krishna, Kesaadipaada (from his head to toe) and ensures his devotees of aayur aarogyam aisvaryam soukhyam or get relief from mental and physical afflictions,” she explains. These are set to the music composed by Ajith Edapally.

Nair completed her PhD thesis in Intrinsic Lyrical Feminism in Mohiniyattam from Mumbai University, and since nine years now has been a lecturer.

“Studying dance has given me a way to express and celebrate womanhood, something I take pride in deeply. I bring out her strengths and weaknesses in a comprehensive narration,” says the dancer, admitting these ideas were planted by her guru.

For 35 years, Nair has seen Padma Bhushan Dr Kanak Rele portray strong women role models from history and mythology such as Gandhari, Kunti, Satyavati, Draupadi and others, she learnt about a women’s resilence and benevolence.

“She told me to be strong and not give in to anything I didn’t believe in. She made sure I brought it out through my dance too,” she says, adding, “And because Mohiniyattam is devoted largely to women (except a few men), it’s the responsibility of us women to protect it.”

About the danseuse

Dr Sunanda Nair the first in India to acquire a Masters degree in Mohiniyattam. She completed her PhD thesis in Intrinsic Lyrical Feminism in Mohiniyattam from Mumbai University, and since nine years now has been a lecturer.

On: November 10, 6:45pm
At: Triveni Kala Sangam

Stay up to date on all the latest Spirituality news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp