Smitha & Sindhuja Unleash Magic @ Anuroop

When two stalwarts in their chosen art forms come together, then it is feast for the eyes. Recently, on the third Saturday of April, Bharatanatyam dancer, Dr. Smitha Madhav and Kuchipudi dancer, Dr. Sindhuja presented ‘Anuroop – Exploring the Parallels’ at Lamakaan. The duo selected some of the best from their respective repertoire and unleashed the magic on the dance lovers. 

Smitha began the evening’s performance with ‘Dhvani Pradamba Pancharatna Stotram’, presented in Kautuvam format. This was a Sanskrit piece in praise of Goddess Parvati in her incarnation of ‘Dhvani Pradamba’ or ‘Osai Koduttha Nayaki’, the presiding deity of Tirukollaka and the consort of Tala Pureeswara. In contrast, Sindhuja performed the ‘Prahlada Pattabhisheka Shabdam’ set in Raga Kambhoji and Tala Misrachapu. It must be noted that Shabdams in Kuchipudi has its roots from the Melattur traditions and the Thanjavur court. Set in the Achyutapuram royal court, this shabdam describes the popular story of the Narasimha avatara, the demon king is bestowed with boons from Brahma concerning his death and his son Prahlada is an ardent devotee of Vishnu – the enemy of his father. Sindhuja brought the Shabadam to life by the ample dramatization, a core character of Kuchipudi. Smitha’s Nritta was chiselled perfectly, while the Jathis were crisp and flawless. On the other hand, Sindhuja while emoting Lord Narasimha brought out the fearful look sending shivers down the spine.

The Bharatanatyam dancer then presented a popular Telugu Varnam – ‘⁠Chalamela’, composed by Shri Moolaiveedu Rangaswami Nattuvanar in praise of Lord Shri Ranganatha. Smitha did justice to every stanza of the Lord emoting beautifully. While taking up Annamacharya Sankeerthana, ‘Nallani Meni’ set to Ragam Purvi Kalyani and Talam Adi, Smitha essayed to perfection Lord Srinivasa as the dark-eyed man with white eyes. 

To Telugu Varnam, the Kuchipudi dancer presented ‘Govardhana’, a Tarangam from Sri Krishna leela Tarangini by Narayana Teertha, set in Mohana raga, Adi tala. The lyric is in praise of Krishna, and Sindhuja depicts the episode of Govardhana lifting in detail. This included dancing on the brass plate, often associated with Kuchipudi. Sindhuja matched up with Smitha’s ‘Nallani Meni’ with another Annamacharya keertana, ‘Tirumalayya’, set in Yaman Raga and Adi Tala. The Kuchipudi dancer brought out the love of a tribal girl with the Lord of Tirumala Hills in a lighter vein.

The curtains came down with Thillana, a composition of Shri Embar S Kannan, with sahitya extolling the greatness of women folk. Both the dancers wearing a strikingly beautiful blue attire complemented each other and spent lot of time behind the curtains to present the mirror of the strikingly beautiful dance forms, which was lapped by the audiences. Sindhuja danced to the choreographies of her Guru, Dr. Yashoda Thakore. It must be noted that some dancers in the city were present to witness the two artists perform, more dancers should take a leaf out of this and do jugalbandis and keep the dance flag flying high with interesting ballets.

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