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Sakha, an appraisal!

Any Odissi recital is not complete without an invocation to our venerable Lord Jagannath, the supreme power if the land of the universe. It’s with such alacrity that Arunima started her stage entry with the reverberating voice of “Kadachit kalindi tata bippinna…”

This was definitely not composed by the musicians who were accompanying Arunima Ghosh. With due respect to the art form, the brochure should not give credit of very traditional compositions like Yahi Madhav, from Gita Govinda to musicians who are simply recreating it. It is the responsibility of eminent dancers like Sharon Lowen and the young dancers to preserve and make original compositions in Odissi style and sing for the audience.

This is not to discourage the young artist from performing or attempting new pieces like the Meera Bhajan she emotes with such graceful gestures. The mangalacharan had the right amount of techniques and facial values as expected out of a good student of the dance form. Jagannath in abstract terms is a deity attached to an elevated consciousness.

Arunima picked up Chaitanya Mahaprabhu perhaps Sri Jagannath ‘s most ardent devotee levied him the status of a symbolic soul-force! Arunima’s composition clearly showed the sakhis on how Jagannath is their centre of attraction. The ten undulating matras of mardal and the changeover of Krishna to Jagannath and Jagannath to Krishna gives this additional scope for interpretation. Except for the simple feeling of a youthful banter more elements of raasleela could have been added to provide depth had the team would have been reinforced with more classical Odissi texts.

This will mature as Arunima Ghosh gets more research work done on her body of work. As a young dancer, this allows Arunima so explore the facets in her dance. Adharam madhuram was full of abhinaya and dance interspersed, fair enough attempt. But sadly the original tune by Bhubaneswar Mishra was not sung! This iconic composition shouldn’t be taken lightly and names of veterans used to just fill the credits! The Meera bhajan in Odissi beats was an absolute delight to watch and a brave attempt to merge the classical form with the spiritual elements of Rajasthan. The enactment of pure devotion of Meera was the high point.

I am sure as time progresses, Arunima would pay more attention to finer details, and her stage persona to propagate Odissi traditions.

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