The Anusham group presented `Shakthi,’ with perfect co-ordination, accurate timing and discipline.
L. Narendra Kumar first shot to fame some years ago with an exciting group choreography of the Kalinga Narthana tillana. Since then, he has remained on the horizon, stretching the boundaries of art and choreography with varying degrees of success.
This season, Anusham group, led by Narendra Kumar and Anusha, presented `Shakthi,’ a thematic work on the Mother Goddess.
The endeavour was to present a traditional idea with predominantly traditional hymns, from a non-traditional perspective. That’s why the presentation differed in form, but not in content.
With the total absence of narrative, symbolism was the operative tool of communication. It was a contradiction in terms, really because this choreography celebrated the sheer physicality of movement without detracting from the seriousness of the imagery.
It is always a risk to employ devotional prayers, but in the present case, the choreographers came out unscathed simply because they did not tamper with the aura of solemnity.
The Gayathri Mantra, the Saraswati sloka, the Mahalakshmi Ashtotram, the step-by-step shodasopachara puja and the Mantra Pushpam were used in different parts of the presentation, each properly recited and sensitively captured in a visual medium.
Besides an opening homage to Gayathri Devi, the manifestations of Shakti as Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati formed the core illustrations.
The dancers — Anamika, Poornema, Vidya Madhubala, Vidyalakshmi, Gayathri, Tiruchelvam, Guhendran, Narendra Kumar and Anusha — dressed in simple white cotton costumes and adorned with silver jewellery, excelled with their perfect co-ordination, accurate timing and discipline. The tightly-knit choreography was bound together by crisp passages of nritta, not dramatically stirring, yet effective in their very precision.
Moments of poetic resonance and friezes were pegged efficiently by the additional lighting by Nambu Kumar.
The music composition and the veena accompaniment were by Rajhesh Vaidya, the konnakkol and sollus by L. Narendra Kumar, percussion by N. K. Kesavan and Sudaman and vocal by Haricharan and Bhavatharini. Within the framework of the production, there were winds blowing from different directions. The Shakthi Kauthuvam composed by S. Guhendran juxtaposed the divine mother and her mortal counterpart in finely crafted wording. The same theme replayed through a poignant
A.R. Rehman composition, “Uyirum Neeye” conveyed the essence of the production in a powerful finale.
While the gurus’ generosity can be appreciated, it was a disappointment for the audience when Narendra Kumar and Anusha’s disciple, Kavita Venkateswar, took centre stage that evening to present a full margam before the staging of `Shakthi.’ The 15-year-old from San Antonio is also a disciple of Bana Ramnath and the Dhananjayans, and is a good dancer, bright-faced and lively.
The lilting Lathangi varnam in Adi talam, a composition of Madurai R. Muralidharan brought out Kavita’s felicity with story telling and rhythm.
She requires some changes in posture though. Definitely a student to be proud of.