Yogi Mahotsav 2007 at Natya Kshetram Kuchipudi
The small village of Kuchipudi, from which the dance originated, (hence the name), housed some of the finest artists. The first Kuchipudi festival "Siddendhra Yogi Prathama Varshika Jayanthi Utsavam" was held in December 1948, and was organized by Sri Lalitha Natya Kala Samithi. However, starting with the Siddendhra Yogi Mahotsav'06 when the legendary guru Dr.Vempati Chinna Satyam and his sons, Vempati Ravi Shankar and Vempati Venkat took upon themselves the task to put Kuchipudi on the world map, the village of Kuchipudi came into limelight once again.
the week long Siddendhra Yogi Mahotsav '07 from February 26th to March
4th featured eight classical dance forms from across the country and overseas
along with varied forms of Kuchipudi. Morning sessions were mainly devoted
to Seminars, Lecture Demonstrations and workshops by scholars and artistes
in their respective fields.
A gist of the week's grandeur:
The program began with a Carnatic music concert by T V Sankaranarayanan. The accompanying artistes were Thiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam on mridangam, Nagai R Muralidharan on violin, and E M Subramanian on ghatam.
Later, Pandit Birju Maharaj was honored with the "Siddhendra Yogi Puraskar" award for his lifetime contribution in the promotion of performing arts (Kathak), by Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam and Guru Vedantam Satyanarayana Sharma after which, Pt Birju Maharaj along with his disciple Saswathi Sen and others, danced on late into the night, reveling in the ecstasy of his beloved art form. This was a real treat to the eyes of all the thousands of connoisseurs of art watching the performance that day.
The evening session showcased an Odissi performance by Kiran Segal and her disciples followed by Pasumarthy Ramalinga Sastry and troupe's Kuchipudi dance ballet 'Sasirekha Parinayam.' The ballet was very enjoyable with the story line being that of the well known mythological epic "Maya Bazaar" from the Mahabharata. While T Rami Naidu as Lakshmana Kumara was the cynosure of the show, Vedantam Venkata Chalapati as Abhimanyu did an excellent job.
Later, that evening, guru Keremane Shambhu Hegde and troupe’s Karnataka Yakshaganam 'JaraSandha Vadhe' drew gasps of admiration from an enthralled audience.
The evening session showcased the Kannada puppet show of ‘Parijatam’ by M.R Ranganatha Rao and the popular Kuchipudi dance ballet 'Rukmini Kalyanam' of Vempati Chinna Satyam. The cast had Vempati Ravi Shankar as Rukmi, Prabha Ramesh as Lord Krishna, Vempati Sri Moy as Rukmini, Principal of Kuchipudi Kalakshetra, Visakhapatnam, Hari Rama Murthy as Sishupala, Chinta Rama Murthy as Agni Dhyotana, Divya Yeluri, Jayanti Lalitha Kalpana, Laina, Hima Bindu, Sumathi, Subha Maruvada, Vasavi and Shruti in other roles.
Although all the dancers did justice to the characters they were portraying, some of the sets, backdrops and the like could have been handled with more care. 'Sri Pada Parijatham' is the life story of the music composer Annamayya. Kavitha as Bala Annamayya did an excellent job. Vempati Ravi Shankar was Annamayya. Divya Yeluri and Vempati Sri Moy played the wives of Annamayya. Vasavi as Lord Vishnu and Divya Yeluri who also played the role of Alamelu Manga, the consort of Lord Vishnu were extremely captivating in their roles. Hari Rama Murthy played both Ghana Vishnu and Salva Raja and Narayana played the role of Purandara Dasa. Kanti Lal on mridangam, Vanaja and DSV Sastri gave excellent vocal rendition and nattuvangam by guru Vempati himself added great value to the dance drama.
The evening's programs started off with excellent Bharatanatyam by Ananda Shankar Jayanth and her troupe. The highlight of this program was the depiction of the Dasavataras in a very novel way in the Ramadas Kirtana 'Takkuvemi Manaku.' This program was followed Jayanth Kastuar's Kathak presentation which was followed by the Kuchipudi dance Drama 'Bhakta Prahlada,' which concluded the whole festival. Once again, both the Kathak recital and Vedantam Venkata Naga Chalapathi’s Bhakta Prahlada were of very high standard.
with the venue being an aesthetically designed stage with the flood-lit
tower of Ramaligeswara Swamy and Balatripurasundari temple as backdrop,
with good accommodation at the Siddhendra Yogi University in Kuchipudi
and in Vijayawada, with Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam, Vempati Venkat and Vempati
Ravi Shankar, all the exponents of Kuchipudi and other great artistes of
all the Indian classical arts coming together, with the exhibition of antique
jewellery, crowns, costumes, photographs and artifacts, the Siddhendra
Yogi Mahotsav '07 was a real treat for the more than ten thousand people
who attended it from all the neighboring villages. Kuchipudi village was
a real Natya Kshetram the whole week. Kudos to the organizers Kuchipudi
Art Academy, Chennai and Akhila Bharata Kuchipudi Natya Kalamandali, Kuchipudi
and to guru Vempati Chinna Satyam who can use each disciple of his as a
chisel to sculpt the wonderful art of Kuchipudi.
Sree Kriti Chapa is a 9th grader from Visakhapatnam. In addition to learning Kuchipudi, Kriti is also a student of classical Carnatic music.