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Gayatri’s elevating performance

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
By Vijay Shanker

National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) presented the scintillating Bharata Natyam performance by acclaimed exponent Gayatri Sriram at the NCPA Experimental Theatre last week. Besides the structural and technical quality, Gayatri's amazing control over expressional dancing, takes you to a journey of classical delight that creates an everlasting impression on the audience.

Singapore-based Gayatri Sriram is an alumnus from the renowned Kalakshtera Academy in Chennai, she is an ardent disciple of Guru Smt Minal Prabhu and performed at several prestigious festivals, all over the world. Gayatri commenced the performance with an invocation to Surya Devata and followed it with an elaborate Varnam in 'ragamalika' Sringara Lola Muralidhara based on 'vaishnavism' and dedicated to Lord Krishna. Gayatri enacts varied episodes in fleeting seconds like the Krishna Leela and the alliance with the gopis, Krishna as the Devaki Nandana who is taken away on a rainy night, Govardhana Giridhari, Krishna's encounter with Kuchela, Draupadi Vastraharharnam and ultimately the role of Krishna as the protector of all mankind in the battlefield at Kurekshetra urging Arjuna to fight against 'adharma' to win over truth and righteousness. Gayatri's tremendous 'abhinaya' takes you on a flight of expressional delight that is versatile and a visual spectacle of excellence. This item was indeed the piece of resistance of the evening.

Gayatri concluded the performance with an ashtapadi 'Kuru Yadunandana', an extract from Jaydev's immortal classique 'Geet Govind' incorporating the inter-relationship between Radha and Krishna. Radha as the Swadinbatruka, after enjoying a blissful night of union, urges Krishna to decorate her with jewellery, costume and sandal paste and narrates with subtle 'sancharis' the telltale glances and the moments of love which were cherished. This number was performed seated and it was sheer joy to watch Gayatri's expressions and body language of Krishna and Radha simultaneously, which changed in split seconds winning thunderous applause from the audience.

Gayatri was supported with a well-knit orchestral team led by Guru Minal Prabhu on nattuvangam, commendable vocal by Balakrishna Sarma, mridangam by Gurumurthy, Prasanna Kumar on moorsing and side rhythm and flute by Krishna. It was an elevating performance indeed.

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