The Sahid Bhawan auditorium here was jam-packed on Wednesday evening and the audience remained glued to their seats as one after the other quality performances kept them in rapt attention. The occasion was the concluding day of 17th dance and music festival of Gunjan Dance Academy, a reputed organisation of the city, which was attended, among others, by Assam Governor JB Patnaik.
If the audience were engrossed with scintillating performance of Gunjan’s founder director Guru Meera Das, Karnataka’s Purnima Ashok was equally elegant with her dazzling Bharat Natyam. Young music composer Srinivas Satpathy’s fusion of Indian and western instruments was the icing on the cake.
Meera and her troupe captured everyone’s imagination when they took to the stage to perform Sri Rama Prem Katha using a whole range of Ramayana texts of Valmiki, Tulasi Das, Balaram Das, Upendra Bhanja and Biswanath Khuntia. Meera as Sri Rama was the cynosure of all eyes as she gracefully depicted the love and affection of Lord Rama.
Be it as a liberator to free Ahalya from her metamorphic state or as a redeemer to show the supreme light to innocent boatman (Nauri) and tribal woman (Sabari), Lord Rama’s human virtues were redefined by Meera with her spotless Odishi performance. Choreographed by self, Meera’s ballet of Ramayana was also equally virtuous when she as Lord Rama allowed Jatayu to die on her laps and was furious when he annihilated demon Ravana.
Karnataka Natya Ratna Purnima then occupied the stage and continued to regale the audience from where Meera had left. She began her recital with Bho Shambho, on dancing Lord Nataraj in Vishwambari raga, a composition of great M Bal Murali Krishna.
She then performed Madhur Milan, a meeting of Lord Rama and Devi Sita just a day before the Swayambar in a garden in Mithila in raga Malika. Purnima concluded her performance with Brahmaarpana, in which the creator Brahma conceptualised the fifth Veda, Natya Veda, for the mankind taking the text from Rig Veda, music from Sam Veda, abhinaya from Yajur Veda and rasa from Atharva Veda.
It was not veteran Meera and Purnima, who got away with all applauds. The admiration was also reserved equally for young Odishi dancer Susmita Panda, who with her nimble and dexterous solo performance Jamuna Jaa’na, matched the performances of the veterans with equal poise.
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