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NCPA'S tribute to veteran danseuse Kanak Rele

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
By Vjay Shanker

The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), as a mark of tribute to celebrate the 80th birthday of veteran Mohiniattam danseuse and dance educationist Padma Bhusan Dr Kanak Rele, and the golden jubilee celebrations of Nalanda Dance Rsearch Centre, organised a performance of the renowned danseuse and her senior disciples at the Experimental theatre. Besides the elevating and magical performance by Dr Rele, the programme also featured three distinct classical dance styles, Mohiniattam, Bharata Natyam and Kathak.

Striking for its high degree of excellence in choreography by Dr Kanak Rele, with the lyrics and music set to Sopanam Sangeetam by Kavalam Narayana Panikkar, Kanak moves forward in her perspective with the thematic content being socially relevant towards the emancipation and upliftment of women in the patriarchial society. There are women centric characters like Kubja and Gandhari, who faced trails and tribulations and emerged victorious amidst adversity.

Kubja's hunch symbolises the torture, suffering and oppression faced by women for centuries. Kubja is the slave in the court of the wicked king Kamsa and she reluctantly applies sandalwood paste to him. Being a devotee of Lord Krishna, she is surpised to see the Lord and she offers little sandalwood paste (Etteri Kalabam) and miracolously recovers her orginal beauty and charm. Gandhari on the other hand, is completely shattered when she realises that her would be royal husband is blind and she blindfolds herself to get rid of the stark reality of life and devotes herself to her duty. Although seated. Kanak Rele with her powerful 'netra and mukhaja abhinaya' elevates the audience with emotional intensity pertaining to the pain and suffering of the women, leaving the audience dumbfounded with the magical transformation.

The senior disciples who performed were Deepak Mazumdar, Sunanda Nair, Madhuri Deshmukh , Dimple Nair, Dr Uma Rele, Vaidehi Rele and Saji Menon. Bhavayami Raghuramam was enacted in which Rama was played by Saji, Madhuri as Sita and Dimple as Lakshmana. Deepak Mazumdar as Nandanar and Sunanda as Amba performed remarkably well.

Besides the devotional fervour in Sant Vani, Meera was enacted in the Kathak style by Nutan Patwardhan. On the whole it was a unique tribute to the great Dr Kanak Rele.

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