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Darpani celebrates Shrikrishna Janmashtami

Recently the Artistic Director cum performer of Darpani- Arnab Bandyopadhyay presented a bouquet of dances centring around  Krishna mythology.

Since a sizeable section of the Indian population is not covered by the religion and caste system of the majority, as a reviewer of dance, I am comfortable treating stories connected with ‘religious festivals’  as stories from our rich heritage and legends that are our asset,  for the benefit of all Indians irrespective of their religious beliefs.

It is believed by many that perhaps Krishna belonged to the Kshatriya of the Yadava clan and while it is alleged by some that Krishna in the hoary past had been a tribal deity. Whatever may have been his origin, stories surrounding him are colourful and interesting which have been raised to great heights by poets and writers, which again have been translated into dance by talented dancers and choreographers like Arnab Bandyopadhyay.

In one of the chosen shlokas-Shantakaram bhujaga sayanam Padmanabham Suresham- which launched off the virtual programme was on Vishnu (Krishna is an avatar of Vishnu). He is consciousness, boundless and infinite and the remover of man’s fears. The shloka was in Raag Gurjari Todi and taal Jyoti. Talented and hard-working Anusmita Bhattacharya explored every minute detail of the shloka with great artistry. The Odia lyric ‘Nachonti Range Srihari’-in Raag Arvi and taal ektali- is a very entertaining composition, showing Krishna dancing joyfully to the rhythm of his ankle bells and offering bliss to those watching him. This piece was rendered by Arnab Bandopadhyay himself in pristine Odissi dance style, his chosen genre. Incidentally, Arnab is also well versed in Bharatnatyam performer, though he specializes in Odissi dance.

Performer Anaya Ghosh Drew the attention of the onlookers to the wonderful swinging gait of the pair Radha Madav as they step in rhythm to the accompaniment of drums, trumpets and singing. She uses Krishna devotee Banamali Das’ lyric to trace the journey of the duo, in their palanquin through Puri and down the lake to Chandana Kund-referring the famous Chandan Jatra of Radha  Madhav very expressively.

In the beautiful strains of Rag shankarabharana and tal ekatali Soham Dey regaled us with Jaydeva’s ‘Hari riha mugdha badhu’ from his Geeta Govinda. What emotion did the companion/sakhi of Radha try to arouse through this astapadi? She rubbed the fact into Radha’s ears that Madhava, her beloved was merrymaking with the maids of Vrindavan! It is left to the vivid imagination of the rasikas to construe the emotions welling up in prime devotee Radha’s mind. Practice will make him more adept at it. Nonetheless what with such inimitable words and notes of the song, its beauty could not be missed.

The concept of welcoming Krishna in Swagatam Krishna was achieved, keeping the aesthetic nuances intact.

Avinaya by Nikita Das, in Rag mohona and Tal adi was the finale. I thought that this piece should have been in the beginning. However, the discretion of the Director Arnab Bandopadhayay was important. Nikita Das welcomed Krishna.

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