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Lata enthralls in Ashrudhara

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
By Vijay Shanker

As part of the Lit Fest conducted by Smita Parekh, Kalashree Guru Lata Surendra,  presented  her latest production , Ashrudhara '-Tears of Flowing Water, at the Dublin Square of Phoenix Market City in Kurla. Rendered in the Bharata Natyam style by Lata and her disciples, Ashrudhara was noteworthy for its thematic quality and artistic excellence.

Ashrudhara is a visual elegy  on the tears of flowing water. Using the potency of Bharata Natyam,Lata Surendra has gathered the saga of flowing water. Although she has used the sacred river Mother Ganga as the running thread, as she puts it - the saga of the river is not isolated to her alone - it is the lament of the rivers of the world seeking  our attention !

The ballet  commences with  the  voice of Mother Ganga reaching out to the audience  and recounting the layers of her descent from Heaven.  We all know her as a 'stream of cloud and light that descended  on Meru  Mountain to accord salvation to sixty thousand sons of Sagara'  but her rage and  reluctance to leave the encushioning heavens, her misuse by humans and her entreaty to bestow unto her a 'heaven on Earth' was brought out very evocatively by the consummate artist  Lata Surendra.  She highlighted how Ganga came to be known as 'Bhagawad-Padi or Vishnu-Padi" in Kruta Yga as she   emanated  from the kamandalam (a spout shaped vessel), when Lord Brahma   washed  the feet of Vamanadeva (The dwarf Brahmin incarnation of Lord Vishnu) in kruta yuga. Having directly touched  that Lotus Feet of Sri Vishnu which was reddish in Colour like the' filament of Lotus...' Ganga  thus gathered the Lord's  pristine essence  to become the allayer of the sins of the world.

Skillful Sancharis had Lata describe   the reluctance and rage of the sacred river in having to leave the cradling heavens, to allay the heat ensuing from the meditation of Bhageeratha.  Very interesting it was to gather Ganga as  she came to be known as 'Janhavi'.  The fury of the celestial river as she flooded the ashram of  Maharishi Janhu  had the  enraged  Sage  drinking her up  and  it was only when Lord Brahma  placated him by saying  that she would be known as his daughter 'Janhavi'  did he  release her through his ears!  

The highlight in the entire layering  of the river's descent was the unique manner Lata depicted the tempering of the river's anger by Lord Shiva  with his cajoling and masculine energy  untl she descended unto the earth .... so near and yet so far from her beloved Lord in this causal word.  

From the heaven to the mortal world and her ravaging by humans was brought out through poetry and interludes of skillfully choreographed musical interludes!  
Each drop of tear she shed - her tears in flowing water  urged mankind to awaken to  the vital aspect of  the water-cycle and life-cycle not at all  mutually exclusive of one another.   The momentum that the seasoned artist created cohesively sought its conclusion in the line' Gather the salt in the tears of flowing water and give unto me 'a heaven on earth'.

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