Artograph Vol 03 Iss 02 (2021 Mar-Apr)

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artograph A NEWNMEDIA™ PUBLICATION

2021 MAR-APR | VOL 03 | ISS 02

A BI-MONTHLY, BILINGUAL E-MAGAZINE FOCUSING ON ARTS | PUBLISHED BY NEWNMEDIA™ FROM KERALA, INDIA | 2021 MAR-APR VOLUME 03 ISSUE 02 | PAGES: 32 | HTTPS://ARTOGRAPH.NEWNMEDIA.IN

Having a way of

HER OWN Mohiniyattam exponent Methil Devika, on her multi-disciplinary career path in dance.

Putting her thoughts together Devi Girish shares her thoughts on Aswathy Rajan’s recently launched book ‘Mohiniyattam Pedagogy and Performativity’.

Like no other Cultural idiom Ananya celebrates its silver jubilee hosting a series of digital concerts featuring seasoned artists.

Taking a meaningful stride SPARC’s Arpanam dance festival makes an impression by featuring artists from various disciplines.


CONTENTS

2021 MAR-APR | VOL 03 | ISS 02

02

Vol 03 Iss 02

Putting her thoughts together 04 Devi Girish

WATCH OUT

DARBAR FESTIVAL

രണ്ട് രാവണന്മാർ 08

Like no other 12

Methil Devika A moment captured from the performance during the 2018 edition of the Soorya Dance & Music Festival. PHOTO: HAREE FOTOGRAFIE

Hareesh N. Nampoothiri

Priyanka B.

STAGE

VIJAYAKUMAR MARGI

Having a way of her own 18

Taking a meaningful stride 24

Hareesh N. Nampoothiri Priyanka B.

TALKING FRAMES

AGNISOONU K. A NEWNMEDIA™ PUBLICATION

LEAD PHOTOGRAPHY: HAREE FOTOGRAFIE DESIGN & LAYOUT: NEWNMEDIA™

SHARED UNDER

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 THE ORIGINAL RIGHTS OF THE TEXTS AND THE PHOTOGRAPHS RESERVED TO RESPECTIVE OWNERS. THE CC LICENSE IS VALID ONLY FOR THE E-MAGAZINE IN ITS EXACT FORM.

DISCLAIMER: THE OPINIONS AND VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THE WRITE-UPS ARE THOSE OF THE RESPECTIVE AUTHORS AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE OFFICIAL POLICY OR POSITION OF THE MAGAZINE.

CONTRIBUTORS

EDITORIAL TEAM

TEXTS

CHIEF EDITOR

Devi Girish Priyanka B.

Hareesh N. Nampoothiri

PHOTOS

Priyanka B.

Ananya Pradeep Thennatt Sreeraj A.

ASSOCIATE EDITOR MEMBERS

Meera Sreenarayanan Navya Raj Sneha Sasikumar Vani Sankar

WEBSITE https://artograph.newnmedia.in FACEBOOK https://fb.me/artograph.mag INSTAGRAM https://instagr.am/artograph.mag SUBSCRIBE https://agsub.newnmedia.in FEEDBACK https://agfdbk.newnmedia.in E-MAIL artograph.mag@newnmedia.in


03 EDITORIAL

2021 MAR-APR | VOL 03 | ISS 02

artograph

When the waves hit hard

T

he current wave of COVID-19 has affected every stream, and the world of art is no exception. After the first wave, the performing arts events were gradually starting to happen. It was then that the second wave came, and now everything is back to square one. This time it hit hard, and survival was even tough. A lot many lost their lives, and people seem to be getting more and more despairing. If all were hopeful about getting back to routine last year, this time, we are expecting a third wave in the coming months, and any hope of watching events live on stage seems to be a distant mirage. It wasn’t easy for Artograph either. Writers agreeing to contribute couldn’t make it, planned events to be covered got either shifted or cancelled, even the team behind had their troubles - bringing out an issue became a lot harder during the period. However, we’re happy that we could bring it out, though we had to cut short some pages. There were a few events worth noting, and we’re glad we could cover them in this issue. One way to encourage others to keep up their excellent work is to extend our appreciation. Maybe, we’ve seen the worst part of it, and now it’s time to recover and fight back. Hopefully, there will be more events in the coming months, and artists will keep their spirits high. And in a way, all that will also help Artograph keep going. Wishing everyone good luck, here’s the second issue of the year. ●

ADVT.

Hareesh N. Nampoothiri

After the first wave, the performing arts events were gradually starting to happen. It was then that the second wave came, and now everything is back to square one.


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INSPIRE

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Putting her

thoughts together DEVI GIRISH “Drenching into the external colors could not bestow the inner beauty or the true essence of the art. If one wants to grasp the true essence of the art, his/her heart has to be pure/reflective as a clear mirror and then he/she will be able to merge with the character and drink the complete essence of the art”.

T

he observations form part of the book ‘Mohiniyattam Pedagogy and Performativity’ by danseuse Aswathy Rajan, released in March this year. An engaging chronicle that re-weaves the lost knits of Mohiniyattam, the book discusses the interdependence of art and culture and how they reflect and react to the social milieu. The author elucidates the journeying of Mohiniyattam as a socio-cultural product of the land and intertwines it with the history of womanhood of Kerala. The pedagogies (the methods and practice of teaching) of different schools in Mohiniyattam are analyzed, theorized, and collated to convey the progression of the art form. The narrator designs a weave of pedagogy and performativity, serving as a milestone for the later research. The narrative framework Through seven chapters, the book brings in the perceptions of both a memoir and a narrative. It attempts to efface the gaps of connotations and different perspectives while probing the history of Mohiniyattam, an objective which the author achieves efficaciously. The work unravels with the vivid meanings of the word ‘Mohini’. The various interpretations, references, translations, transliterations, and Danseuse Aswathy Rajan, the author of the book ‘Mohiniyattam Pedagogy and Performativity’. PHOTO: SREERAJ A.


05 INSPIRE

2021 MAR-APR | VOL 03 | ISS 02

artograph semantic progression of the term get discussed in detail. Interestingly, the etymology of Mohiniyattam, Thevadichi attam, and Dasi attam are collocated through several textual imprints. The publication identifies five phases in the development of Mohiniyattam. These are emergence, evolution, royal patronage, institutionalization, and disintegration. The role of artists, scholars, connoisseurs, and institutions in this journey is explored and discussed. One focus area is the set of events leading to the formulation of pedagogic structure and institutionalization of the dance form. Alongside, the works and contributions of Swathi Thirunal in this progression are duly acknowledged. Over the years, Mohiniyattam has served as a medium in defining, analysing, and understanding the pain and oppression of local female lives. This aspect gets accentuated with the felicitous instances taken from the folk tales, cinema, and popular verses/lyrics from the movie songs. Simultaneously, the text deliberates over the objectification of the female body in Mohiniyattam.

The book brings in the perceptions of both a memoir and a narrative, attempts to efface the gaps of connotations and different perspectives while probing the history of Mohiniyattam.

The concept to bifurcate the body and the dance gets referred to as reading a text without context. While doing this, Aswathy delineates the politics of exclusion and inclusion of specific choreographies in Mohiniyattam during its transformation. She identifies the politics in naming and the concept of ‘gaze’ as the characteristics which define the modern Mohiniyattam. Furthermore, the work throws light on certain literary narratives that heightened erotic submissiveness/ sexual slavery in the art form. At many referral points, the analysis is juxtaposed with the Western thinkers and theorists to accentuate the framework. One instance is the author’s effort to collate the conflict of ‘avarna’ and ‘savarna’ (discrimination based on classes) with the theory of gender performativity and gender trouble formulated by Judith Butler. Pedagogical aspects The book points out that the natural outcome of the pedagogical application is slightly absent in the present setup. Nevertheless, it explores pedagogy formulated by the doyens of the art at different phases of the progression of the art form at Kerala Kalamandalam. It has led to the phrasing of a structured curriculum for Mohiniyattam pedagogy in the institution. However, the author does not limit her analysis only to Kalamandalam. Aswathy goes ahead to understand and analyze the pedagogy enunciated by different schools, which has paved the way to enlarge the grammar and technique of the art form. She also construes the works and contributions of native and non-native performers, which expanded the idiom of technique and expression in Mohiniyattam. Throughout, many variegated diagrams and maps get annotated, marking the furtherance of the pedagogy and practicum of the dance form.

DEVI GIRISH, a Kuchipudi practitioner and educator, works as an Assistant Professor at the University of Silicon Andhra, California. Also, a guest faculty in performing arts at ISCA, Devi, recently submitted her doctoral thesis.

The pedagogical analysis of Mohiniyattam is annotated by mapping the form’s transformational process, from the devadasi system to thevadichi attam, and concluding with the current practicum. During the process, the book refers to the influences and contributions of certain regional forms that became a part of this progression. The


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inclusion of movement mapping highlighting specific movements of Mohiniyattam, drawing inspiration from the folk performing traditions, is a striking feature indeed. In addition, the author lists some other movements inspired by the daily household chores of women in the region. Interestingly, all these colligate with the past of women folk in Kerala.

The book offers a wellresearched study on Mohiniyattam, though many chronicles elucidate the history of the art form.

AMAZON - MOHINIYATTAM PEDAGOGY AND PERFORMATIVITY amazon.in/dp/819501299X

The concept of Pedago-graphy gets unfolded most aesthetically. Pedago-graphy is an amalgamation of different pedagogies that facilitates the formation of a complete idiom of an artform. In this, the author illustrates the pedagogic evolution of omnifarious schools in Mohiniyattam, their creative endeavours, jargons, aggrandizing it with disciples, and proceeding with their creative endeavours. Enticingly, being a Kuchipudi performer, the study allowed Aswathy to analyze the abridging path of the techniques of Kuchipudi and Mohiniyattam. An endearing effort Being a student of Kalamandalam and the University of Hyderabad, the author had ample scope to analyze, compare and collate the different pedagogical patterns followed by both the educational systems. The in-depth research and assiduity to formulate the modules form a remarkable aspect of this work. As part of the pedagogic research, the author has created three phases of learning, which facilitate the dance to work as a corporeal reality. The class-caste-colour distinctions attached to the form in different referral points of concatenation also find a mention here. Recounting her inspiration to document Mohiniyattam, Aswathy says: “Though I am a Kuchipudi performer, the rigorous training and the learning -unlearning process that I went through at Kalamandalam was my first referral point. That momentum made me realize that I could contribute and abridge the gap persistent in the history and development of pedagogical structure in Mohiniyattam through the insider and outsider perspective of progression of the form.” Altogether, the book offers a well-researched study on Mohiniyattam, though many chronicles elucidate the history of the art form. As a record of performativity and the hybridization of Mohiniyattam, the book will remain an asset for the research scholars whose area of interest is pedagogy. Concerning reflective readers, this forms a prodigious analysis of the incidents leading Mohiniyattam to bloom into its complete form. ● The book ‘Mohiniyattam Pedagogy and Performativity’ is currently available in stores. PHOTO: SREERAJ A.


artograph

07 WATCH OUT 2021 MAR-APR | VOL 03 | ISS 02

FEATURED

DARBAR FESTIVAL

Darbar’s annual festival is a marquee event hailed worldwide for bringing together seasoned and upcoming musicians.

STATISTICS: NOXINFLUENCER TEXT: PRIYANKA B.

Joined on

Average Video Views

Subscribers

Total Videos

2007 FEB 23 332K

10.39K 428

Total Views

64.78M

* Data as on 2021 Apr 30.

T

he Darbar Arts Culture Heritage Trust (Darbar), founded in the year 2006, is a registered non-profit organisation based in the United Kingdom. Realising the immaculate potential of Indian classical arts, Darbar initiates efforts to promote and showcase them before the global audience. Their annual festival focussing on classical music is a marquee event hailed worldwide for bringing together seasoned and upcoming musicians. Darbar joined YouTube in the year 2007, and the channel darbarfestival offers snapshots of initiatives of the platform. However, there’s no free lunch here, and full-length concerts are available only for members who make payment. Even then, considering the resources and efforts involved, what is in the offering is undoubtedly worth every penny. More than 400 videos have been published by the channel so far. The highlight among the playlist forms the videos featured under ‘Darbar VR 360 Festival’, which is arguably the world’s first Indian music festival presented in the virtual reality format. Shot in picturesque locations, encompassing the beauty of nature, and imbibing even the background sounds, the ~50 videos offer a real-life, audio-visual experience. Covering genres such as Hindustani, Carnatic, and Instrumentals, the videos portray celebrated musicians. Apart from rag-based videos, excerpts from interviews and ‘Musical Wonders of India’ - showcasing rare musical instruments, form the other videos on the list. Though Darbar hosts dance festivals, the channel does not offer much dance-related content, an update that they can work on. With 332K subscribers and growing, darbarfestival is a must-add to every music lover’s subscription list. ● Channel link: youtube.com/darbarfestival

THIS SEGMENT FEATURES YOUTUBE CHANNELS THAT PROMOTE CLASSICAL DANCE AND MUSIC RELATED CONTENT.


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GENERAL

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രണ്ട്

രാവണന്മാർ ഹരീഷ് എൻ. നമ്പൂതിരി

ഒരു അഭിനേത്രി ഏകാംഗാവതരണമായി രാവണനെ പകർന്നാടുന്നതും, ഒരു നടൻ ആഹാര്യസമൃദ്ധമായ കത്തി വേഷത്തിൽ, രാവണനായി തന്നെ നിറഞ്ഞാടുന്നതും രണ്ട് വ്യത്യസ്തമായ അനുഭവമാണ് നൽകുക.

രേ കഥാഭാഗങ്ങൾ രണ്ട് സമ്പ്രദായങ്ങളിൽ അവതരിപ്പിച്ചു കാണുകയെന്നത് രസകരമായ�ൊരു അനുഭവമാണ്. കഥകളിയുടെയും കൂടിയാട്ടത്തിന്റെയും കാര്യമെടുത്താൽ, 'പാർവ്വതീവിരഹം', 'കൈലാസ�ോദ്ധാരണം', 'ബാലിവധം' എന്നിങ്ങനെ വിവിധ രംഗഭാഗങ്ങൾ ഈ രണ്ടു നാടകരൂപങ്ങളിലും മുൻപ് അവതരിപ്പിച്ച് കണ്ടിട്ടുണ്ട്. മറ്റൊന്നുള്ളത് 'പൂതനാമ�ോക്ഷ'മാണ്. അത് നങ്ങ്യാർക്കൂത്തിലും തുടർന്ന് കഥകളി സ്ത്രീ വേഷത്തിലുമാണ് കാണാനായിട്ടുള്ളത്. ഇതേ രീതിയിൽ അവതരിപ്പിക്കപ്പെട്ട ഒന്നായിരുന്നു വാഴേങ്കട കുഞ്ചു നായർ ട്രസ്റ്റ് രാവണനെ കേന്ദ്രബിന്ദുവാക്കി ചെയ്ത രണ്ട് അവതരണങ്ങൾ. കഥകളി ആസ്വാദകർക്ക് ചിരപരിചിതമായ 'രാവണ�ോത്ഭവ'വും, അതിന് മുന്നോടിയായി അതേ കഥാഭാഗം വരുന്ന 'ഇന്ദ്രാദികളുടെ ദശഗ്രീവഭയം' നങ്ങ്യാർക്കൂത്തുമാണ് ഇവിടെ അവതരിക്കപ്പെട്ടത്.

ഒരു അഭിനേത്രി ഏകാംഗാവതരണമായി രാവണനെ പകർന്നാടുന്നതും, ഒരു നടൻ ആഹാര്യസമൃദ്ധമായ കത്തി വേഷത്തിൽ, അവസാനമാവുമ്പോഴേക്കും കൂട്ടുവേഷങ്ങൾക്കൊപ്പം, രാവണനായി തന്നെ നിറഞ്ഞാടുന്നതും രണ്ട് വ്യത്യസ്തമായ അനുഭവമാണ് നൽകുക എന്നത് പറയേണ്ടതില്ല. എന്നാലതിനപ്പുറം, അഭിനയരീതിയിലും സമീപനത്തിലുമ�ൊക്കെയുള്ള ചില സൂക്ഷ്മമായ സമാനതകളും അതുപ�ോലെ വിപര്യയങ്ങളുമ�ൊക്കെയാണ് ഇവയെ കൂടുതൽ ഉൾക്കാമ്പുള്ളവയാക്കുന്നത്. അപ്രകാരം സമൃദ്ധമായിരുന്നു ഈ രണ്ട് അവതരണങ്ങളും.

നങ്ങ്യാർക്കൂത്തിലെ പുതുശ്രമം

കഥകളിയിലെ 'രാവണ�ോത്ഭവം' പ�ോലെ അത്രകണ്ട് പ്രചാരത്തിലുള്ള ഒന്നല്ല നങ്ങ്യാർക്കൂത്തിലെ രാവണപ്രാഭവ കഥാഭാഗം. തുടക്കത്തിൽ കഥാഭാഗം വിശദമാക്കിയ കലാമണ്ഡലം ജിഷ്ണു

കലാമണ്ഡലം സിന്ധു 'ഇന്ദ്രാദികളുടെ ദശഗ്രീവഭയം' അവതരിപ്പിക്കുന്നു. PHOTO: PRADEEP THENNATT


09 GENERAL

2021 MAR-APR | VOL 03 | ISS 02

ഓർമ്മിപ്പിച്ചതു പ�ോലെ, ഇത് അധികമാരും നങ്ങ്യാർക്കൂത്തിൽ ചെയ്തിട്ടുമില്ല, ചെയ്തിട്ടുള്ളതാവട്ടെ ഈ നാടകഭാഗത്തുമല്ല. മാർഗി സതിയുടെ 'ശ്രീരാമചരിതം' നങ്ങ്യാർക്കൂത്തിലെ ഈയ�ൊരു ഭാഗത്തേക്ക് രാവണന്റെ വരലബ്ധിഭാഗം കൃത്യമായി ചേർത്തുവെച്ചുള്ള രംഗാവതരണവും അധികമുണ്ടായിട്ടില്ല. ഇത് ഇപ്രകാരം ചിട്ടപ്പെടുത്തി ഇവിടെ അരങ്ങിലെത്തിച്ചത് അറിയപ്പെടുന്ന കൂടിയാട്ടം കലാകാരിയായ കലാമണ്ഡലം സിന്ധുവാണ്. സീത പറയുന്നതായാണ് 'ശ്രീരാമചരിതം' രചിക്കപ്പെട്ടിട്ടുള്ളത്. ശ്രീരാമജനനത്തിന് ഹേതുവായുള്ള ഇന്ദ്രാദികളുടെ രാവണന�ോടുള്ള ഭയാശങ്കകളും, അതിനിടയായ രാവണന്റെ വരലബ്ധിയും ജനകരാജാവിന�ോട് വിശ്വാമിത്രൻ അറിയിക്കുന്നത് സീത ഓർത്തെടുക്കുകയാണിവിടെ. കൈകസിയുടെ മടിയിൽ തലചായ്ച്ചുറങ്ങുന്ന സമയം ആകാശമാർഗേ പുഷ്പകവിമാനത്തിൽ സഞ്ചരിക്കുന്ന വൈശ്രവണനെ കണ്ട് ദുഃഖിതയാവുന്ന അമ്മയുടെ കണ്ണീരടക്കാൻ, ബ്രഹ്മദേവനെ തപസ്സുചെയ്ത് വരം മേടിക്കാൻ ഉറയ്ക്കുന്ന രാവണന്റെ ഉത്ഭവകഥ, കഥകളിയിൽ കണ്ടുപരിചയമുള്ള കഥാപരിസരം, തുടർന്ന് കലാമണ്ഡലം സിന്ധു മികവ�ോടെ പകർന്നാടി. ഏക രേഖയിൽ ഒരറ്റത്തു നിന്ന് മറ്റൊരറ്റത്തേക്ക് പ�ോവുന്ന വിമാനമാണ് കഥകളിയിൽ കൈകസി കാണുന്നതെങ്കിൽ, ഇവിടെ ആകാശത്ത് വലം വെച്ചു താഴുന്ന വിമാനമിറങ്ങി പിതാവിനെ

' രാവണ�ോത്ഭവം' കഥകളിയിൽ രാവണനായി ക�ോട്ടക്കൽ കേശവൻ കുണ്ടലായർ. PHOTO: PRADEEP THENNATT

artograph മാർഗി സതിയുടെ ‘ശ്രീരാമചരിതം’ നങ്ങ്യാർക്കൂത്തിലെ ഈയ�ൊരു ഭാഗത്തേക്ക് രാവണന്റെ വരലബ്ധിഭാഗം കൃത്യമായി ചേർത്തുവെച്ചുള്ള രംഗാവതരണവും അധികമുണ്ടായിട്ടില്ല.


artograph

GENERAL

2021 MAR-APR | VOL 03 | ISS 02

10

കലാമണ്ഡലം സിന്ധുവിന�ൊപ്പം കലാമണ്ഡലം ജയരാജ്, കലാമണ്ഡലം രതീഷ് ഭാസ് (മിഴാവ് ), കലാനിലയം രാജൻ (ഇടക്ക) തുടങ്ങിയവർ. PHOTO: PRADEEP THENNATT

നായക/പ്രതിനായക വേഷങ്ങളിൽ ഒരുപ�ോലെ തിളങ്ങുന്ന ക�ോട്ടക്കൽ കേശവൻ കുണ്ടലായരാണ് ഇവിടെ കഥകളിയിലെ രാവണനെ അവതരിപ്പിച്ചത്.

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നമസ്കരിക്കാൻ പ�ോവുന്ന വൈശ്രവണനെക്കണ്ടാണ് കൈകസിക്ക് ഈർഷ്യ ത�ോന്നുന്നത്. വിശ്രവസ്സിന് ആദ്യ ഭാര്യയിലുണ്ടായ വൈശ്രവണൻ എല്ലാ സുഖങ്ങള�ോടെയും സമ്പത്തോടെയും ലങ്കാധിപനായിരിക്കുമ്പോൾ, തന്റെ പുത്രനായ രാവണൻ ഇവിടെ വനവാസിയായി കഴിയേണ്ടി വരുന്നതിൽ കൈകസിക്കുള്ള നീറ്റൽ സിന്ധു അനുഭവവേദ്യമാക്കി. കഥകളിയിൽ കാണുന്നതിനേക്കാൾ കുറച്ചു കൂടി ഊന്നൽ നൽകിയാണ് ഈ ഭാഗങ്ങൾ അവതരിപ്പിച്ചു കണ്ടത്. ഉറക്കമുണരുന്ന രാവണനും പിന്നീട് വൈശ്രവണന്റെ ആകാശഗമനം കാണുന്നുണ്ട് എന്നതും കഥകളി അവതരണവുമായി താരതമ്യം ചെയ്യുമ്പോൾ കാണാവുന്ന ഒരു മാറ്റമാണ്.

ല�ോകേശാത്തവര പ്രതാപ ബലവാന്‍

തനിക്കേറ്റവും സുഖം ഭവിച്ചതിന് കാരണമെന്തെന്ന് ആല�ോചിച്ച്, രാവണൻ ആത്മഗതമായി പറയുന്ന രീതിയിലാണ് കഥകളിയിൽ ഈ കഥാഭാഗം അവതരിപ്പിക്കുന്നത്. കല്ലേക്കുളങ്ങര രാഘവപിഷാരടി എഴുതിയ 'രാവണ�ോത്ഭവം' ആട്ടക്കഥയിലെ പതിനാലാം രംഗമാണ് ഇന്ന് പ്രചാരത്തിലുള്ളത്. ബ്രഹ്മാവിൽ നിന്നും വരങ്ങൾ നേടി അത്യന്തം സന്തുഷ്ടനായിരിക്കുന്ന രാവണൻ, എന്തുക�ൊണ്ടാണ് ഇത�ൊക്കെ സംഭവിച്ചതെന്ന് ഓർത്തെടുക്കുകയാണിവിടെ. കുമ്പിട്ടു നിന്ന് വരങ്ങൾ യാചിച്ചു വാങ്ങുകയല്ല, ബ്രഹ്മാവിന�ോട് ച�ോദിച്ചു വാങ്ങുകയാണുണ്ടായതെന്ന് പറയുന്ന മുതൽക്ക് തന്നെ രാവണന്റെ ഗർവ്വ് വെളിവാകുന്ന രീതിയിലാണ് രാവണന്റെ രംഗാവതരണം ചിട്ട ചെയ്തിരിക്കുന്നത്. നായക/പ്രതിനായക വേഷങ്ങളിൽ ഒരുപ�ോലെ തിളങ്ങുന്ന ക�ോട്ടക്കൽ കേശവൻ കുണ്ടലായരാണ് ഇവിടെ കഥകളിയിലെ രാവണനെ അവതരിപ്പിച്ചത്. 'തപസ്സാട്ട'മെന്ന് അറിയപ്പെടുന്ന കഥയുടെ പ്രധാനഭാഗമായ രാവണന്റെ തപസ്സും തുടർന്ന് ബ്രഹ്മാവിൽ നിന്നും വരങ്ങൾ ആവശ്യപ്പെട്ട് വാങ്ങുന്നതുമായ ഭാഗങ്ങളുമാണ് വരുന്നത്. കഥകളിയിലാവുമ്പോൾ, തപസ്സിന�ൊടുവിൽ ശിരസ്സ് ഹ�ോമിക്കപ്പെടുന്ന ഭാഗങ്ങൾ സവിശേഷമായ ചുവടുകള�ോടെ ചിട്ടപ്രകാരം ആടുന്നതാണ് അവതരണത്തിനു ബലം നൽകുന്നത്. നങ്ങ്യാർക്കൂത്തിന്റെ സാധ്യതകൾ വ്യത്യസ്തമാണ്. കഠിനമായി തപസ്സനുഷ്ഠിച്ചിട്ടും ബ്രഹ്മദേവൻ പ്രത്യക്ഷപ്പെടാത്തതിൽ ക്രുദ്ധനായി


11

GENERAL

2021 MAR-APR | VOL 03 | ISS 02

രാവണൻ തന്റെ ശിരസ്സുകൾ ഓര�ോന്നായി വെട്ടിയെടുത്ത് തീയിൽ ഹ�ോമിക്കുന്നു. അത്തരത്തിൽ അവസാനത്തെ തലയും ഹ�ോമിക്കാനായി മുതിരുമ്പോൾ ബ്രഹ്മാവ് പ്രത്യക്ഷപ്പെട്ട് രാവണനെ തടയുന്നു.

ആവർത്തിച്ചവതരിപ്പിച്ചിരുത്തം വന്ന ഒന്നെന്ന ത�ോന്നലുണ്ടാവും വിധമാണ് കലാമണ്ഡലം സിന്ധു ഇതിലെ രാവണനെ അഭിനയിച്ച് ഫലിപ്പിച്ചത്. ഒരു ഏകാംഗാവതരണമായി തന്നെ നടപ്പുള്ള കഥകളിയിലെ പൂർവ്വമാതൃക കുറേയേറെ അതിന് സഹായിച്ചിരിക്കാം. ഒടുവിൽ ബ്രഹ്മാവ് പ്രത്യക്ഷപ്പെടുമ്പോൾ രാവണൻ അഹങ്കാര ഭാവത്തിൽ വരങ്ങൾ ച�ോദിച്ചു വാങ്ങുന്നതുമെല്ലാം കഥകളിയുടെ വഴിയിൽ തന്നെ. സൂക്ഷ്മാംശങ്ങളിൽ ചെറിയ മാറ്റങ്ങൾ ഉണ്ടാവാതെയുമിരുന്നില്ല. ഉദാഹരണത്തിന്, ബ്രഹ്മാവ് വന്നോ വന്നോ എന്നു ന�ോക്കിയുള്ള രാവണന്റെ പിന്മടക്കവും പിന്നെയുള്ള തിരിച്ചുവരവും, തപസ് അവസാനിപ്പിച്ചാല�ോ എന്നൊന്ന് സന്ദേഹിച്ച് പിന്നെ വരങ്ങൾ നേടാതെ മടക്കമില്ലെന്ന് സ്വയം ഉറപ്പിക്കുന്ന രീതിയിലാണ് നങ്ങ്യാർക്കൂത്തിൽ പുനഃസൃഷ്ടിച്ചത്. വരലബ്ധിയാൽ അഹങ്കാരിയായ രാവണനെക്കൊണ്ടുള്ള ഉപദ്രവങ്ങൾ അവസാനിപ്പിക്കാനും ല�ോകർക്ക് ആശ്വാസമേകാനുമായി അവതരിച്ചതാണ് ശ്രീരാമൻ എന്ന വിശ്വാമിത്ര വചനം കേട്ട് സന്തുഷ്ടനായ ജനകനെ ഓർമ്മിക്കുന്ന സീതയിലാണ് നങ്ങ്യാർക്കൂത്ത് അവസാനിക്കുന്നത്. കഥകളിയിലാവട്ടെ, തന്റെ സഹ�ോദരങ്ങൾ നേടിയ വരങ്ങളെക്കുറിച്ച്

കേശവൻ കുണ്ടലായരുടെ 'രാവണ�ോത്ഭവം' രാവണന�ൊപ്പം മേളം കലാകാരന്മാർ. PHOTO: PRADEEP THENNATT

artograph ച�ോദിച്ചറിഞ്ഞ്, അതിനവരെ പരിഹസിച്ച്, ശകാരിച്ച്, ഈരേഴുല�ോകവും ജയിക്കാൻ താന�ൊരുവൻ മതിയെന്ന് തീർച്ചയാക്കി പുറപ്പെടുന്ന രാവണനിലാണ് കഥ തീരുന്നത്. കലാമണ്ഡലം ആദിത്യനും സദനം വിപിൻ ചന്ദ്രനുമാണ് യഥാക്രമം കുംഭകർണനായും വിഭീഷണനായും വേഷമിട്ടത്.

കഥകളിയിൽ ഇരട്ട ചെണ്ടമദ്ദളങ്ങൾ ഒരുക്കുന്നൊരു മേളക്കൊഴുപ്പ് കുറച്ചൊന്നുമല്ല രാവണന്റെ തപസ്സാട്ടത്തെ പ�ൊലിപ്പിക്കുന്നത്. അതിന�ൊത്തൊരു പിന്തുണ നൽകാനായിരുന്നു മിഴാവിൽ കലാമണ്ഡലം രതീഷ് ഭാസ്, കലാമണ്ഡലം ജയരാജ് എന്നിവരും ഇടക്കയിൽ കലാനിലയം രാജനും അടങ്ങിയ നങ്ങ്യാർകൂത്തിലെ വാദ്യകാരന്മാരുടെ ശ്രമം. അത് ഒട്ടൊക്കെ ഫലം കാണുകയും ചെയ്തു. കലാമണ്ഡലം നില ഹരിദാസായിരുന്നു താളത്തിൽ. വടക്കോടുള്ള അരങ്ങുകളിൽ തിമില കൂടിയാട്ടത്തിന് സാധാരണയായി പതിവില്ലെങ്കിലും, ഈയ�ൊരു ഭാഗത്ത് ആ വാദ്യം കൂടി ചേർന്നിരുന്നെങ്കിൽ നന്നാവുമായിരുന്നെന്നും ത�ോന്നി. 'രാവണ�ോത്ഭവം' കഥകളിയിൽ കലാമണ്ഡലം ബാലസുന്ദരൻ, സദനം ജിതിൻ എന്നിവർ ചെണ്ടയിലും, ചെർപ്പുളശ്ശേരി ഹരിഹരൻ, കലാമണ്ഡലം സുധീഷ് പാലൂർ എന്നിവർ മദ്ദളത്തിലും മേളമ�ൊരുക്കി. സദനം ജ്യോതിഷ് ബാബുവും സായ്കുമാറുമായിരുന്നു ഗായകർ. കലാനിലയം രാജീവിന്റെയായിരുന്നു ചുട്ടി. ഈ കഴിഞ്ഞ ഏപ്രിൽ മാസം പത്താം തീയതി വൈകുന്നേരമാണ് ഈ രണ്ട് അവതരണങ്ങളും വാഴേങ്കട കുഞ്ചുനായർ ട്രസ്റ്റിന്റെ ഫേസ്ബുക്ക് പേജിലൂടെ ലൈവായി ആസ്വാദകരിലെത്തിയത്. ●


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LIKE NO

OTHER PRIYANKA B.

T

he beginning of the year instilled hopes of things coming in favour of the art fraternity. Many live stage programs happened by allowing a limited audience and strictly adhering to the COVID protocols. However, things took an unfavourable turn as the second wave of the pandemic hit the nation. Online events are back on the scene, and the digital medium offers the only respite for the time being. Interestingly, there have been certain focussed efforts spanning several months, which confirms the receptivity and vitality of the online sessions. And a prominent one is hosted by Ananya, covering both dance and music through their ‘Nruthyollāsa’ and ‘Sangati Yuva Sangeethotsava’. Established in 1995 by R.V. Raghavendra, Ananya Cultural Academy is a self-funded, non-profit cultural organisation striving to promote, propagate and nurture the cultural art forms of India. Over the past 25 years, Ananya has offered notable contributions to dance, music, literature, and painting. The organisation celebrated its silver jubilee in May last year, and since November, has been streaming a series of events every week to commemorate the occasion. Supported by Shaale and Indiranagar Sangeetha Sabha, the dance and music sessions won laurels by their content, quality, and artist line-up.

The March segment of Ananya's 'Nruthyollāsa' got to a start with the Bharatanatyam performance of Gowri Sagar. PHOTO: ANANYA

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Mithun Shyam (from left), Sruthy Jayan, and Radhika Kathal joined the list of Bharatanatyam performers for the March segment of 'Nruthyollāsa'. SCREEN CAPTURES

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Ananya premiered over 70 digital concerts in six months, including dance recitals and music concerts. Other than a few, most of the programs were recorded on a common platform, ensuring uniformity. With the high-quality recording, streaming and duration ample for the artists to make an impression, Ananya helped each artist bring out their best. Coming to the segments in March-April, many noted artists joined hands with Ananya. Gowri Sagar, Mithun Shyam, Priyanka J. Rao, Sruthy Jayan, Radhika Kathal, Shruti Gopal, Mayuri Karanth, Nidhaga Karunad, and Mekhala Bharadwaj performed Bharatanatyam.

YOUTUBE PLAYLIST - ANANYA NRUTHYOLLĀSA tinyurl.com/ag-ananya-dance

YOUTUBE PLAYLIST - ANANYA SANGATI tinyurl.com/ag-ananya-music

PRIYANKA B. is a post-graduate in English

literature and an art enthusiast who enjoys photographing classical dance performances. She currently works as Postal Assistant with Department of Posts, India.

Youngsters on a roll Backed by the lyrics of Arun Bharadwaj, Gowri Sagar, a disciple of Guru Sathyanarayana Raju, presented a self-choreographed item. In her interestingly crafted work, the dancer featured the lives of three women - Ahalya, the monkey-queen Tara, and Draupadi, contrasting in their experiences and emotions. Ahalya derived from Ramayana narrates the story of the heroine, deceived by the disguise of Indra and cursed by her husband, sage Gautama. Tara, the versatile, talented monkey-queen, goes through the agony of the death of her husband twice. In the Draupadi episode, instances like her marriage and the play of dice dwindling her esteem got presented. The choreography sequence depicting the monkey-fight between Vali and Sugreeva, sancharis sometimes shifting focus, like in the case of Shakuni during the game of dice, all came alive in Gowri’s portrayal. The use of dialogues to reflect the characters’ inner emotions was yet another unique aspect. Different in thought and approach, ‘Sarvam Shivamayam’, the performance of Mithun Shyam opened with the Nattakurinji varnam “Swami naan undan adimai...”. Embodying Shiva in energy and spirit, the dancer gave a highly dynamic performance. He further went on to elaborate on how the perception of Shiva changes as one advances in life. Mithun concluded with ‘Vachanas’, verses of Lingayat saints Basavanna and Akka Mahadevi, that abound in devotion to the lord. Priyanka J. Rao and Sruthy Jayan made their performances look very promising. An invocation to lord Ganesha followed by a jatiswaram, Priyanka moved on to Kshetrayya padam “Ninnu juda galige...”, por-


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Over the past 25 years, Ananya has offered notable contributions to dance, music, literature, and painting.

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traying the various sentiments of nayika towards her beloved, Muvva Gopala. She concluded her performance with Meera bhajan. Sruthy had the Swathi Thirunal composition “Shankara srigiri...” in praise of Lord Shiva as her main item. She also added to her recital a Murugan taalattu to be wrapped up with a thillana composed by Lalgudi G. Jayaraman. The vibrant Shruti Gopal began with an abhang, a choreography of Vaibhav Arekar, wherein chose to present a few episodes from Ramayana such as ‘Tatakavadham’, ‘Ahalyamoksham’, and ‘Sitaswayamvaram’. In the continuing piece, the ashtapadi “Lalitha lavanga...”, the dancer visualised the spring and the effect it brings on lovers. After portraying a nayika unhappy with the indifference of her partner in the light-hearted javali “Nee matale maayanura...”, Shruti concluded with the Subramania Bharati song “Dhikkugal ettum sidhari...”, depicting rain and its various impacts. Mayuri Karanth commenced with a Vandana alarippu and moved on to the Tulsidas bhajan “Tumak chalat Ramchandra...”, roleplaying an endearing mother. She transformed into a Khandita nayika in the ashtapadi “Yahi Madhava yahi Kesava...” and ended with a thillana. Nidhaga Karunad, a disciple of Guru Suparna Venkatesh, impressed with his brisk moves and spirit. He began his recital with a pushpanjali and then “Ananda natana prakasam...”, a composition of Muthuswami Dikshitar hailing Lord Shiva. A Purandara Dasa devaranama on Hanuman followed, and the dancer concluded with a thillana. Both Mekhala Bharadwaj and Radhika Kathal chose to present the varnam “Swamiye vara sholladi...”, a composition of K.N. Dhandayudapani Pillai, portraying the nayika pining for her beloved Lord Muruga. While Radhika concluded with a Meera bhajan, Mekhala opted for Bharatanatyam performers Mayuri Karanth (clockwise from bottom right), Priyanka J. Rao, and Shruti Gopal during their recitals at Ananya's 'Nruthyollāsa'. PHOTOS: ANANYA


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Nidhaga Karunad (from left), Mekhala Bharadwaj presenting Bharatanatyam and Manasa Joshi performs Kathak during their sessions at Ananya 'Nruthyollāsa'. PHOTOS: ANANYA

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“Palumaru benagaka...”, a composition of Annamacharya, choreographed by Guru Rama Vaidyanathan. The item involved roleplay between Alamelumanga and her sakhi, with the latter persuading nayika to yield to the advances of Lord Venkateswara. Joining the seniors, young talents from Upadhye School of Dance, Sanjana Rajesh, Riyana and Janani also joined with a Bharatanatyam performance.

Coming to the segments in March-April, many noted artists joined hands with Ananya.

Rohini Prabhath (from left) presented a solo Kathak while Somashekar Chudanath & Sowmya did it in duet format. PHOTOS: ANANYA

Kathak and more Moving on to Kathak performers, all of them included both abhinaya and technical pieces in their recitals. Somashekar Chudanath-Sowmya duo, Rohini Prabhath and Manasa Joshi were the dancers. Somashekar & Sowmya performed pieces in obeisance to Lord Ganesha and Shiva and concluded with a tarana. Rohini, trained under Nirupama Rajendra and T.D. Rajendra began with the bhajan “Sreerama chandra kripalu...” from Ramcharitmanas and visualised it with various episodes from Ramayana. She impressed all through her performance, and the concluding item was the ashtapadi “Lalita lavanga...”. Manasa Joshi began with an invocation to Lord Ganesha and moved on to a bandish, “Piya tora

CONTINUED ON PAGE 29 ►


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argi Vijayakumar was born to Velayudhan Nair and Lalithamma in May 1960, in Thonnakkal village of Thiruvananthapuram. Thonnakkal Peethambaran initiated him to the art form, and he joined Margi in 1975, where he furthered his studies for nearly a decade.

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FACEBOOK - MARGI VIJAYAKUMAR fb.me/margi.vijayakumar

The training under Mankulam Vishnu Namboothiri and Inchakkadu Ramachandran Pillai shaped the actor in him, and the advanced schooling under Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair equipped him to enact female roles. Widely hailed for his female roles, Margi Vijayakumar is adept at handling characters such as Damayanti, Panchali, Mohini, Kunti, and the like. When it comes to compelling female characters such as the disguised form of Putana, Hidimbi, Simhika, and Nakrathundi, Vijayakumar has carved a niche of his own. Margi Vijayakumar is an actor who has shared the stage with maestros and young artists alike. The photographs featured here are from two occasions. In both times, the staging was under the aegis of Drisyavedi, T’puram, and was in the last quarter

EXPOSURE: 1/160 | F6.3 | ISO 800 CANON EOS 450D / SIGMA 70-300MM F/4-5.6 DG MACRO

HAREE FOTOGRAFIE fb.me/haree.fotografie

of 2010. In the photo below, he is in the role of Usha alongside Kalamandalam Sucheendran’s Chitralekha, from the ‘Usha-Chitralekha’ scene of ‘Banayudham’. And in the right one, he performs Damayanti, sharing the stage with the octogenarian actor Kalamandalam Gopi reprising the role of Bahuka in ‘Nalacharitham Nalam Divasam’. He has performed extensively in India and abroad, much to the delight of Kathakali enthusiasts. For his contributions, he received several laurels, including the Kalamandalam V.S. Sarma Endowment, Suvarna Sanghu from Mumbai Keli, Kudamaloor Karunakaran Nair Memorial Award, ‘Nitya Haritha Mohini’ title bestowed by the University of Texas, to name a few. Vijayakumar retired as the principal of Margi theatre, T’puram, after serving his alma mater in the post for over a decade. ●

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COVER STORY

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Having a way of

HER OWN HAREESH N. NAMPOOTHIRI

M

ethil Devika is one of the prominent Mohiniyattam dancers from the state, and her works have received attention and recognition beyond the borders. Acknowledging her artistic pursuit, Kshetrakala Academy has bestowed her with the Kshetrakala Award early this year. Apart from dancing, she is also a scholar, researcher and ventured into filmmaking with ‘Sarpatatvam’ - a documentary on her dance production. Here in this conversation with Artograph, she shares her views on different aspects of the dance, especially in the Mohiniyattam arena. Q: You have learned Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam... What prompted you to be a performer in Mohiniyattam? The percussion - I love the sound of Keralite instruments. They have a trance like quality in their sounds. The percussion of Mohiniyattam has a different tone, not filling it with beats and having a pace of its own. It offers more potential to enact, and the slow tempo is something that I found easy. Essentially, it helped me find a balance and an opportunity to know the difference of approach to movement and energy.

Methil Devika was born to N. Rajagopalan and Methil Rajeswari on the 18th of January 1976 in Dubai. Initiated into dancing at the tender age of four, Devika received training in Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, and Kuchipudi under eminent gurus including S. Natarajan, Girija Chandran, Kalamandalam Vijayalakshmi, Kalamandalam Leelamma, and Vempati Chinna Satyam. Proficient in academics, Devika secured an MBA from the University of Madras and an MA in dance from Rabindra Bharati University, both with first ranks. She’s also a doctoral degree holder in Mohiniyattam. An A-grade artiste for Doordarshan and empanelled with SPIC-MACAY and ICCR, she has

Coming to acting, Bharatanatyam or Kuchipudi is so different. The attitude one takes while doing Mohiniyattam is unique, and the sentiments take another dimension. Also, because Mohiniyattam does have areas to be tapped, there is the liberty to do many things. The art form did not have a long-standing definitive lineage like the other traditions. In short, exploring the different possibilities of doing this based on the traditional roots of Kerala is immense. Q: How did you shape your career as a Mohiniyattam dancer? I am a native of Palakkad but was born and brought up in Dubai. In between, I used to come to T’puram to stay with my father’s sister. Here I joined Regatta at the age of six, and in a short span of ten days, I could learn a cholkettu. Later I performed it in Dubai on an august occasion, where dignitaries like N.V. Krishna Warrier were present. After my 7th standard, I again got in touch with Mohiniyattam, and at that time, I could learn a few items under the daughter of Kalamandalam Kuttan. I should add, I had no long-term dedicated guru in Mohiniyattam. At a later stage, after my MBA and when I returned showcased her talent before the global audience. One of her popular productions, the dance documentary ‘Sarpatatwam’, got voted into the contention list of the Oscars in 2018. Devika currently holds academic positions in various universities and is the artistic director of Sripada Natya Kalari and Chitrakutam Art House. She is the recipient of several laurels including, the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Award (2011), Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar (2007), Devadasi National Award (2010) and the most recent Kshetrakala Akademi Award (2020). ● Additional text by Priyanka B.


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to T’puram, I got in touch with Regatta and Guru Girija Chandran yet again. Once Soorya Krishnamoorthy visited the institution and accidentally saw me practising Mohiniyattam. It was a turning point, and seeing my dance, he insisted on performing at Soorya Festival that year. I could do it and continued to perform at the festival for the next six-seven years. Most of the time, it was all my choreographies, even when I performed for the first time at the age of twenty. Guru Girija Chandran always supported me in my endeavours and shared her honest opinion every time. Afterwards, I made a structured repertoire and set up my orchestra at Palakkad. Meanwhile, I could also associate with Kavalam Narayana Panicker. Acquaintance with his music, his process of experimenting in his Kalari, his thoughts - all gave fascinating insights. That time I got empanelled in SPIC-MACAY, and those stages helped me to explore even more. The fact that it had to appeal also to the untrained eyes became mandatory for me. I think platforms like these make one feel more responsible, both for the art form and the place you represent.

■ HAREE FOTOGRAFIE

Once for a recital in the Swathi Thirunal Club, Chennai, during 2000-2001, I invited dance writer V.R. Devika to attend. She came to watch and gave my first review, where she described my performance as ‘meditative’. A year later, I got an opportunity to perform at Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Just the day before my event, Vyjayanthimala Bali performed. About the performances, art critic Leela Venkataraman wrote in The Hindu, “An artist set to come of age and an artist refusing to age.” Such rave reviews fetched me more stages and eventually the

artograph As Mohiniyattam have areas to be tapped, there is the liberty to do many things.


artograph Even though the source of Mohiniyattam is Kalamandalam, popularisation mainly happened through artists not affiliated with the institution.

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prestigious Ustad Bismillah Khan Puraskar. By then, I had begun the work of many new productions like ‘Chilapathikaram’, ‘Kottichetham’ and so on. I always feel the art form has given me more than what I gave to it. Q: Are there any Mohiniyattam dancers who inspired you? I get inspired by many. If not the whole presentation, the technique, craft, interpretation, style - dancers inspire me in multiple ways. Speaking about specific instances, the first one that comes into my mind is ‘Geethopadesam’ by Bharati Shivaji. It was when I was seven or eight years old, and that day she did it in Bharatanatyam. A decade later, I saw my first SPIC-MACAY concert at Palakkad, and the performer was Smitha Rajan. It was my first time watching her, and the “Ksheera Sagara...” piece was so beautiful. I was so inspired watching her, dancing with a lot of involvement.

■ HAREE FOTOGRAFIE

Q: How do you think Mohiniyattam has evolved over the years? There’s a lot to evolve. It was in the ‘80s-’90s many people outside Kerala came here and took it outside. Be it Bharati Shivaji or Kanak Rele, the time they invested in it led to academic studies and eventually to the growth of Mohiniyattam. Even though the source of Mohiniyattam is Kalamandalam, popularisation mainly happened through artists not affiliated with the institution. One reason could be, those who came from outside had better exposure, and they were also into other dance forms. However, things are much better now. And with fewer barriers around, more students should take Mohiniyattam serious. Sadly, it is not the case. The number of dancers who took this dance form seriously in the last two decades is negligibly few. Q: And why is it happening that way? It’s a cumulative effect of multiple factors. Compared to Mohiniyattam, the other art forms are way beyond in their evolution stage. There are more takers for other


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artograph dance forms as well. Unlike other streams, ensemble productions, in their true sense, are yet to happen in Mohiniyattam. We do have group presentations, and that’s all.Sadirattam or Mohiniyattam, if we delve into the past, there are instances of multiple dancers performing together. It is crucial to find more scope for the dance form other than presenting solo. In the past, we were progressive in terms of content. Now the present generation takes everything for granted, or their conviction is that it’s all that is needed. Reflecting one’s learning in their work also matters, and it feels like students of this age lack that motivation.

Dancers will have to evolve out of their shells of fear and start thinking of their own. They should be able to think beyond and create content right from conceptualising it. Having an own perspective is also very important.

Yet another aspect to consider here is cultural patriarchy. We are subject to male hegemony day in and day out. We hardly have women composers or writers. The perspective of sringara, vatsalya, separation - all these from a woman’s point of view, will be entirely different from that of a male. Dancers will have to evolve out of their shells of fear and start thinking of their own. It is okay to be inspired by a novel and attempting to portray characters in it. But dancers should be able to think beyond that and create their content right from conceptualising it. Having a perspective of your own is also very important. Q: Do you feel Mohiniyattam performers get the recognition they deserve? Lack of it has some effect in the above context? Of course not. The visibility Mohiniyattam has in comparison with the others is much less. Even those who have heard of it may not know the nuances and may not be familiar with the artists. Take the case of national-level awards, the state may recommend the name of an established senior dancer, but the decision-makers in the centre may hardly know them. And in Kerala, the state itself is often oblivious about the artists who’ve contributed to the dance scene. Nobody usually gives references for our artists anywhere. And it is good to have clout alongside competence sometimes. Unfortunately, those only having the former gets recognized many a time. Q: During lockdown days, there have been many new attempts, some inviting criticism... COVID is a difficult situation, and for one and half years, we have been living with it. The pandemic has somewhat crept into our psyche. In the very beginning, there was an onslaught of videos, and artists were somehow trying to give vent to their feelings by trying to express their thoughts. Everything that started then is not continuing as such. Even the video productions and the interest of the people to see it have come down.

YOUTUBE - SARPATATWAM tinyurl.com/ag-sarpatatwam

We should try to analyse a work in terms of the background of the performer involved. It may or may not be worth watching. As an artist, it’s okay to make mistakes. It happens. Before going for a hard criticism, we must try to understand the work dynamic. Also, it will be worth mentioning that what the dancers do during the period is very representative of the impact of the pandemic. We have to be tolerant to some extent. End of the day, it is not going to matter which video gained the most likes. It is only the genuine practitioners of the art who survive. No artist can claim they have created something individually. It is all a part of subconscious recollection and assimila-


artograph tion of the people we have seen. In a recent incident of criticising a young artist based on the costume, all the dancers came together to raise their voices and concern. Maybe it deserved a correction, but for me, there are grave issues that need such attention. Why can’t we come together like that to address genuine problems? Both the state and the centre often sideline art and artists completely, and I never see artists coming together to address those crucial problems. Q: How does the pandemic affect the practicum of choreography? The main challenge, as always, is the availability of musicians. For instance, my musicians are all from Palakkad. The pandemic has affected travel. But the process as such has always been within. That remains unchanged. The video projects I did from T’puram during the pandemic happened when the musicians were available. The studio technicians might be in Palakkad, and the discussions happen over Zoom sessions. The choreography depends upon me, and as long as we have musicians here, it is not going to be a problem. Even otherwise, we are used to collaborating with musicians using online platforms. So there’s nothing new in it. Q: Coming to video projects, is there any distinctive difference in approach? There is. ‘Kottichetham’, a video that gained many views in my YouTube channel, if performed on stage, would’ve made in a completely different approach. In the general scenario, I would not record a performance of mine, say a ten or fifteen-minute long, and make it available on YouTube. And now, while I make such productions for online platforms, I’ve got a different audience to consider. Often I publish snippets from my choreography works, highlighting the approach. Dedicated video works, like ‘Sarpatatwam’, caters to the general audience. However, we cannot compromise on aesthetics. We have to give the audience the right blend of information, content, and aesthetics to make it compelling. There are prospects for commissioned works for online platforms. That could be the new order. For

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instance, 'Ahalya', my new production was commissioned by Sampradaya Dance Creations. They chose Mohiniyattam only because they watched ‘Sarpatatwam’. Q: If you are to do ‘Sarpatatwam’ now, how would be your approach? The whole concept has the ability and possibility to evolve at different levels. And I could add more to it now. When I started working on it, my intention was not to make a documentary. That was only an archival film, but then it took the shape of a documentary film. I would have tried experimenting, maybe visit a few other locations. Q: Coming to ‘Ahalya’, how different is it from the other productions? If ‘Sarpatatwam’ is esoteric because of mystic connotations, ‘Ahalya’ is realistic. Inspired by the pandemic situation, the isolation of Ahalya caught my interest. I was very sure that she was not a stone. After being a part of Girish Karnad’s ‘Nagamandala’, I developed the ability to read mythology realistically. I started writing down, imagining what could’ve happened for real. Since Gautama was an ascetic, he may have come short in extending the caring for his wife. Ahalya might have fallen for senses, which again is very well symbolized by Indra. It was also pretty clear to me that Rama didn’t step on her. At that time, it was all a hypothesis. Then I read Valmiki’s original script, and it was all in line with the way I had imagined except for some additional information. Both Gautama and Ahalya get moksha in the end. Freeing from the curse is the self-realisation of Ahalya. She became self-reliant without falling for worldly emotions. She also had to go through the ordeal of taking Gautama out of the curse. Moral conditioning often affects the derived texts over time. Here, I had the backing of the Valmiki version. Q: Coming to academics and research in dance, is it going in the right direction? There are many universities offering paid PhDs, and many are not going in the right direction of doing research. In Kerala, we have a lot of research papers


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coming out. But I haven’t come across anything that adheres to a proper research methodology. More than the content, we have to make sure that a methodology of research is in place. For that, we also need a peer review system. We should learn to reject works that lack quality and accept competent efforts. The thesis has just become a medium to get a doctorate, not contributing anything to the field of dance. In many of the research materials that I’ve seen, the approach considers dance in isolation while it is also required to see it in an anthropological context. They never see it as being made by a living entity. For example, if there is a study on a particular school or system, the whole concept is seen in isolation without looking into who founded that style, psyche, background, thought process etc. Also, these all are exploratory studies. It can also be quantitative. Some researchers can also use quantitative techniques and operations for extrapolation and so on. Questionnaires, audience data, audience information, figures and graphs - put all these into use. The quantitative methods will make the studies more objective. Doing the same topics over and over also doesn’t make sense. Q: How do you think we can make some changes for the good? One important aspect is to create more career opportunities for performers and those who are keen to research. Post-doctoral research chances are almost nil. Promoting collaborative studies between disciplines should be encouraged. The University of Kerala, the first one in the state, doesn’t have a faculty in dance. And the universities that have a department offer BA or MA courses, and nothing more. Exchange programs with foreign universities, we hardly have any. Creating more performance venues is another critical aspect in this regard. One suggestion would be to utilise the many heritage centres that we have. We can have miniature festivals in each of these centres. Instead of spending large amounts on preserving these cultural centres, spend it on artists. With artists thriving and places becoming culturally vibrant, these heritage centres will rejuvenate on their own. However, governments are more interested in showing their grandeur by spending crores on physical structures in the name of preserving heritage. Its intangible heritage is what matters, and we can achieve it only through promoting the arts and culture, which demands promoting artists primarily. The earlier we realise it, the better. ● Mohiniyattam by Methil Devika at Attukal Bhagavathy Temple during the 'Pongala Mahotsavam 2014'. PHOTO: HAREE FOTOGRAFIE

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Taking A MEANINGFUL

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PRIYANKA B.

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osting dance festivals online is not an easy task for the organisers and the artists involved. While the former has to ensure proper streaming and coordination, the latter has to adapt to the constraints of the digital medium. Nevertheless, there have been several appreciable efforts in the meantime, happening regularly and grabbing the attention of the global audience. A notable among them is the 'Arpanam' dance festival, organised under the aegis of Sunanda's Performing Arts Center (SPARC). ‘Arpanam’, the brainchild of Mohiniyattam exponent Sunanda Nair kicked off in October last year. A virtual melange of Indian classical dances, the festival completed twelve editions in seven months, showcasing senior and promising artists in multiple disciplines. The streamed sessions had a mix of excerpts from past events and those recorded exclusively for the festival. The editions from one to nine had thirty-five performers including, Vinitha Nedungadi, Uma Sathyanarayanan, Roja Kannan, Vidha Lal, Sharmila Mukerjee, Shruti Gopal, Prateeksha Kashi, T. Reddi Lekshmi, Hari Padman & Divya, Nalini & Kamalini, to name a few. The festival also featured Vilasini Natyam and Chhau performances, with Purva Dhanashree and Rakesh Sai Babu representing the respective repertoires. Bharatanatyam performer Gayatri Sriram opened the 10th edition of 'Arpanam' dance festival. SCREEN CAPTURE


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YOUTUBE - ARPANAM 10 tinyurl.com/ag-arpanam-10 Divya Ravi performed Annamacharya composition "Venkatadri vibhunibasi..." in raga Amritavarshini. SCREEN CAPTURE

‘Arpanam’, the brainchild of Mohiniyattam exponent Sunanda Nair kicked off in October last year and completed twelve editions in seven months.

Rasika Kiran & Shivaranjani Harish had a promising performance to showcase at 'Arpanam'. SCREEN CAPTURE

Editions ten to twelve of the Arpanam series got streamed during the months of March-April. Bharatanatyam performer Gayatri Sriram was the opening dancer of the 10th edition. After setting the mood of her piece through a sloka from Sree Krishna Karnamrutam, Gayatri moved on to her main item, the Jayadeva Ashtapadi “Kuruyadu nandana...”, depicting Radha in conversation with Krishna after their union. Switching between the roles of Radha and Krishna, she made the abhinaya piece a delighting watch. Divya Ravi, in her Bharatanatyam performance, had something new to offer. A not oft-performed composition of Annamacharya, “Venkatadri vibhunibasi...”, set to raga Amritavarshini was her opening piece. The item portrays a sakhi who voices the concerns of her friend Alamelumanga. It is springtime, and while nature and its beings make merry, Alamelumanga suffers from the pangs of separation of her beloved, Lord Venkateswara. The sakhi chides each of them, including Madana, who, unmindful of the suffering of nayika, hides flower arrows for her. Finally, the episode ends on a happy note, with the arrival of a messenger from Venkateswara. Odissi by Arushi Mudgal and Kathak by Sharmila Sharma occupied the succeeding slots. Arushi danced to a poem by Banamali Dasa, “Kede chanda jane lo sahi...”, wherein she depicted a few engross-


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The 11th episode of Arpanam had its focus on Mohiniyattam, and the compositions of Swathi Thirunal dominated.

Avani Santhosh in the opening scene of her Mohiniyattam recital at the 'Arpanam' festival. SCREEN CAPTURE

ing instances from the childhood of Krishna. Sharmila began with an item in praise of Shiva and wrapped it up with a pure dance piece. The concluding performance was by the duo Shivaranjani Harish and Rasika Kiran, representing the Rasika Arts Foundation. They chose to present an excerpt from ‘Sharavanabhava’, a noted work of their guru, Kiran Subramanyam, enumerating the tales of Lord Muruga. The presentation, embellished with crisp jathis, had the Muthuswami Dikshitar composition “Senapathe palayamam...” where dancers enlivened instances like the revelation of the meaning of Pranava mantra and the marriage of Muruga with Valli.

YOUTUBE - ARPANAM 11 tinyurl.com/ag-arpanam-11

Talents in Mohiniyattam; Anupama Suresh Kumar, Kalamandalam Greeshma, and Kalamandalam Anjali C., performing at the 'Arpanam' dance festival. SCREEN CAPTURES

Focusing on Mohiniyattam The eleventh episode of Arpanam had its focus on Mohiniyattam. The compositions of Swathi Thirunal dominated, and half of the performers chose the evergreen pieces of the legendary musician. “Chaliye kunjanamo...”, “Aj aye shyam...”, and “Poonthen nermozhi...” were the items performed by Avani Santhosh, Kalamandalam Greeshma, and Krishnapriya Nair, respectively. Anupama Suresh Kumar brought in variety as she performed “Anupamamay...” set in the ‘Sopanalasyam’ style. Characterised by a blend of the Sopanam style of music and Mohiniyattam, the item portrayed a heroine reminiscing her lover and conversing with her sakhi.


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YOUTUBE - ARPANAM 12 tinyurl.com/ag-arpanam-12 Meera Sreenarayanan during her captivating Bharatanatyam performance at Arpanam 12. SCREEN CAPTURE

Kalamandalam Sreeja R. Krishnan and Kalamandalam Anjali C. were the other performers in the line-up. While the former presented “Akhilandeshwari rakshamam...”, a composition of Muthuswami Dikshitar in praise of the goddess, the latter danced to “Sree vighnarajam bhaje....”, composed by Oottukkaadu Venkata Subbaiar in admiration of Lord Ganesha. The 12th edition of Arpanam made an impression by an array of commendable performances. Bharatanatyam practitioners Kavya Muralidaran, Meera Sreenaryanan, and Uttiya Barua excelled. Kavya Muralidarn’s excerpt from her past recital at the Music Academy stage witnessed elegance meeting perfection. After a mallari, she moved on to “Sharavana bhava guhane...” praising Lord Muruga.

The 12th edition of Arpanam made an impression by an array of commendable performances.

Bharatanatyam performer Uttiya Barua gave the concluding performance for the 12th edition of 'Arpanam'. SCREEN CAPTURE

Novel attempts The heroine waits day and night, for so long, with a heart beating for her beloved - Meera Sreenaryanan started her piece with this short prelude setting the context. She then refers to a creep separated from the tree and shares her distress, wondering who else will be able to understand the pain of severance better. “Arodu cholvene...”, penned by Irayimman Thampi, was the song in use and Meera made it into an endearing abhinaya piece.


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FACEBOOK PAGE - SPARC tinyurl.com/ag-sparc

Kathak exponent Ashimbandhu Bhattacharya brought in a fresh perspective through his self-choreographed piece. SCREEN CAPTURE

The recorded track with Bijeesh Krishna’s voice and flute, along with the simple percussion of idakka (Arun Das), added to the grace of the presentation. Uttiya Barua started in a Mayura alarippu with thiruppugazh and proceeded to the other two items of his recital - the oft-performed “Chinnanchiru kiliye...”, and Rabindranath Tagore’s “Amar praner pare chole...”, both abound in myriad emotions. Manipuri exponent Bimbavati Devi registered her presence through ‘Dasavatara’, detailing the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, making use of the verses from ‘Gita Govindam’. The twelth segment of ‘Arpanam’ also featured a Kathak performance by Ashimbandhu Bhattacharya, expertized in both the Lucknow and Jaipur gharanas of Kathak. Conceptualised based on “Garaj baras pyaasi dharti...”, by poet Nida Fazli, the dancer presented a self-choreographed piece, conceived as a prayer to the lord, seeking peace and harmony.

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Premiering across the YouTube channel of the organiser, the dance fiesta is all set to advance into many more editions. When we consider taking the dance forms to the masses as one of the objectives of festivals like these, an introduction before each performance would have aided the naive audience. ●

Premiering across the YouTube channel of the organiser, the dance fiesta is all set to advance into many more editions.


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Performing in Kuchipudi and Odissi slots were talents Chethan Gangatkar & Chandraprabha (left) and Abhaya Lakshmi. PHOTOS: ANANYA

kaisa abhimaan...’, portraying a nayika waiting for her beloved. A Basavanna vachana in praise of Shiva and Purandara Dasa composition on Krishna formed the other two pieces, and she ended with a tarana.

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Performing in the Kuchipudi slot were the couple Chethan Gangatkar and Chandraprabha Chethan. The duo began with a purvaranga, giving way to the evergreen piece pravesa daravu from ‘Bhamakalapam’, performed by Chandraprabha. The couple then came together in a compelling javali, choreographed by themselves, portraying a husband trying to please his annoyed wife. Chethan gave the next item, Sandhya Tandava, a choreography of Guru C.R. Acharya before the duo concluded with a tarangam. Abhaya Lakshmi, trained in Odissi under eminent gurus, began her recital with an item in praise of Goddess Durga. She then moved on to pallavi, a pure dance piece in rag Saveri and tal Ek tali. Abhaya concluded with the Ashtapadi, “Sakhi he kesi madana...” depicting Radha reminiscing her intimate moments with Krishna and conversing with her sakhi. Enriching music The music segment Ananya Sangati - Yuva Sangeethotsava, had enchanting recitals on selected themes, performed by seasoned and upcoming artists. Amrutha Venkatesh, Bhargavi Venkatram, Vivek Sadasivam, Sampagodu S. Vighnaraja, Rajkamal Nagaraj, Bangalore M. Nishanth, Vinay Sharva S.R., etc. were among the long list of performers. Completing part one, Sangati has entered into its second segment and is still continuing. The premiered videos are available across the online handles of Ananya and Shaale.com. ●


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FEATURED

AGNISOONU

K.

WEB - AGNI PHOTOGRAPHY agniphotography.com

gnisoonu K. is a passionate freelance photographer hailing from Kochi in Kerala. A B.Tech graduate in Computer Science and Engineering, he got fascinated with photography after starting his career as a software engineer. A self-made photographer, he uses the possibilities of the digital medium to share and learn through observing. After a brief stint in macro photography, Agnisoonu shifted his focus to landscapes, portraits, and travel pictures. His love for nature led him to explore scenic locations and produce striking images brimming with life. He got featured across several platforms including, Canon India, Deccan Chronicle, and Smart Photography, and has been a part of many contests and exhibitions. He also hosts workshops for aspiring photographers and currently works as a professional manager at Poornam Info Vision Pvt Ltd. How did you get into photography? As a child, I was always fascinated by colours and nature. Both my brother and I had a flair for drawing, and such interests helped me develop a sense of framing. The first try with a camera happened through a photo contest in the workplace where a borrowed gadget fetched me the first prize in the portrait category. Moving on, I became more involved, and the support from family and colleagues inspired me to switch to advanced gears. About your area of interest in photography... I love long exposure landscapes/seascapes and travel photography. The location, composition, and interplay of lights and shadows; all are important. Interest in landscapes catalysed me to travel more. My captures are a reflection of my emotions and shares what I experience. And your current gear in use... I use two cameras. A Nikon D810 supported by lenses 16-35mm f4, 50mm f1.8, 85mm f1.8 and Sony A6300 with lenses 50mm f1.8 and 16-50 mm. ●

The journey called life: Shot from Malakkappara in Kerala, a woman tea plucker goes about her daily chores on a foggy day. EXPOSURE: 1/160 | F6.3 | ISO 640 NIKON D810, NIKKOR 16-35MM F/4G ED VR

As if in a dream: A dreamy sunrise view from the 7000 feet-high Kolukkumalai viewpoint in Munnar. EXPOSURE: 1/60 | F9.0 | ISO 64 NIKON D810, NIKKOR 16-35MM F/4G ED VR


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Readers’ Response ‘Fly Fly Again’ ft. Sayani Chakraborty & Deepali Salil 05:05 | 2021 Apr 30 What if, to truly love, you need to step out of your emotional shell - explores in this dance video by Sayani Chakraborty & Deepali Salil.

Watch it here: bit.ly/ag-fly-fly-again

‘Rivers of India’ ft. Various Artists 06:26 | 2021 Apr 22 Released on ‘Earth Day 2021’, the music video ‘Rivers of India’ is a tribute to the precious water resources by Kanniks Kannikeswaran and produced by the International Center for Clean Water, IIT Madras.

Watch it here: bit.ly/ag-rivers-india

“Kamalapthakula...” ft. Ranjani & Gayatri 20:24 | 2021 Apr 21 A carnatic vocal presentation by Ranjani and Gayatri on the occasion of Rama Navami 2021, a composition of Tyagaraja in raga Brindavani Sarang set to Adi tala.

Share your feedback This space is to showcase the feedback from the readers.

Watch it here: bit.ly/ag-raga-kamalaptakula

‘Śiva’ ft. Meera Sreenarayanan 09:48 | 2021 Mar 17 Premiered as a part of Narthaki Online’s ‘A-nidrā - Celebrating Arudra Sivā’ on the auspicious night of Sivaratri, Meera Sreenarayanan presents Lord Shiva in a different light, conceived by Bhagyalakshmi.

Watch it here: bit.ly/ag-meera-siva

‘Jay Rang Rang’ ft. Adithya, Parshwanath & Shruti 07:15 | 2021 Mar 11 ‘Jay Rang Rang’ a dance video produced by Aruna Music Entertainment in collaboration with Upadhye School of Dance featuring Adithya, Parshwanath, and Shruti,

Watch it here: bit.ly/ag-jay-rang-rang

We do love to hear from you. Please do send in your feedback and comments using the online form available in here: agfdbk.newnmedia.in

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OR write to us at artograph.mag@newnmedia.in