In almost every Bharatanatyam dancer's career, selective compositions safely lodge themselves in the dancer's repertoire. These are oft performed and the ability to perform them also serves as a marker of a good dancer. The reason is, of course, because these compositions are legendary and give the dancer an opportunity to revel in the plenitude of emotions they generate.
Recently, at the dance recital organised by Natyarangam, the dance wing of Narada Gana Sabha, Christopher Gurusamy took up two such well-known compositions -- Patnam Subramanya Aiyyar's ‘E raa ra ra’ and Melattur Kasinatha Iyer's ‘Indendu Vachchithira’. Not only did he perform them well, Christopher's rendition reminded the audience of what makes these pieces appealing in the first place.
Effortlessly transforming into the quintessential khandita nayika for ‘Indendu Vachchithira’ set in Suruti, Misrachapu, Christopher confidently navigated the intricate lanes of anger, disappointment and sorrow through his abhinaya. In the various sancharis, therefore, he essayed the role of an acrimonious lover tinged with a touch of grief and disbelief.
As a dancer, Christopher is emotive and confident which makes him look comfortable in an abhinaya-centric piece such as this one. Further, with the help of expressive body language and facial expressions, Christopher brought the essence of the composition to the fore.
After the sarcastic piece, Christopher danced to the happy notes of Khamas for the javali, ‘E raa ra ra’ set to Adi tala, turning into a boisterous nayika who is seeking the company of her lover, unable to bear the pangs of separation after being struck by Cupid’s arrows. Again, his abhinaya brought the words of the composition to life. What was significant in these two renditions was that it did not matter that it was a male dancer performing as the nayika. Christopher's transition from the Khandita nayika to the lover in waiting was harmonious.
A student of Kalakshetra, Christopher began the evening with a simple Alaripu set in tisra eka, and set the bar high as far as his nritta was concerned. In the varnam (Mohamana, Bhairavi) too, his footwork was stronger than his abhinaya.
With almost every kitataka tarikita thom ending where it should and a near-perfect natyarambhe, Christopher's nritta comprised neat lines and angles that seemed to come straight out of the text book. When one began to feel the need for an abhinaya-heavy piece, he pulled out the padam and the javali to show his calibre in the art of expression as well.
As a fitting finale, the khanda eka tala thillana in Hindolam was rendered neatly and in keeping with the overall simplicity of the evening.
Saswati sang beautifully accompanying Christopher’s steps. The nattuvangam was rendered by Satyapriya. Anirudh on the flute and Parthasarathy on the mridangam were both impeccable in their roles.
Courtesy : The Hindu
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