Namam - Entha Ruchira
April 18, 2010
Visakhapatnam - Sri Ramanavami Uthsavalu - March 23, 2010
Noted musician Nedunuri Krishnamurthy pointed out that the story is a challenge for any dancer to take up as the saint wrote most kirtanas while in jail. Ananda Shankar Jayant handled this tough proposition with ease and achieved praise from the rasikas, he acknowledged. Here is a review of how she accomplished just that.
The concept, narration, and each of her roles, as a director, as a choreographer and as a dancer are taken up separately.
concept, direction, narration and sequence
With "takkuvemi manaku…" - Sourashtram- Adi, Ananda set high expectations right from the word go and continued the tempo all through the program. "When He is on my side, I need nothing else," Ramadasa says in this Krithi, and this is put to test soon.
With "entho mahanu bhavudavu..." Shanmukhapriya, Kanda Chapu Talam, Ananda conceptualized Ramadasa's vision of Ramayana from vanavasam to the eventual victory over Ravana. The dance item made use of the literature to gain full attention of the rasikas.
Then came "Sri Rama nee namam entho ruchi ra.., (title of the ballet). Ramadasa is seen celebrating "Rama Namam." Devotion brings incredible joy and prompts him to go one step ahead and build a temple. The temple construction and prayers to the presiding deities follow and the dancers create festive appearance all around.
In one swift dramatic twist of fate, blissful Ramadasa is put to test. The turn-about happens within seconds as Taneshah orders his arrest for constructing the temple from out of the coffers. The hall turned silent. Once in prison, Ramadas appeals to his Savior, Garuda Gamana. He then queries, urges, seeks recommendation of Mother Sita, (how typical of a karanam), even admonishes in that order. Sahityam cleverly supported the escalation, "Eey Thiruga...," "Paluke Bangaramayena...," "Nannu Brovamani...," and "Ikshwaku kula thilaka."
The Lord responds, with Rama and Lakshmana settling the debt, Taneshah rushes to the prison and secures release of Bhaktha Ramadas with respect and with gifts. Ananda chose this moment to display her healing touch. Into the open sunlight after many years in jail, Ramadas clears his eyes with both hands, looks at the Taneshah and asks how his temple is! The Saint knew all along that he would secure his release. "Yemayya Rama…. Nee Maya…" shows the happy ending. With mangalam, the program concluded.
A rope was used as a prop for construction, for binding the hands of Ramadas, and for creating a contained prison space. The rope proved powerful as it curtailed freedom, restricted space (critical resource for a dancer), and the pain of confinement reached the inner consciousness of the rasika.
Contrasting expressions of the artists, like when the guards showed disgust at Ramadas who was immersed in bhakthi, brought the feel of the situation at prison.
Using the diagonal space on stage when all the dancers were lined up, proved a visual delight. Photographers were able to capture the "effect" and audience was able to have a complete view of all the dancers.
- Her joy in
"Rama Namam Entho Ruchira..." was incredible.
Since a real life story was behind the ballet, credit goes to the research team to have the sequence established in perfect order, escalating up to a level where there was confrontation and rescue.
Ananda, Bhakta Ramadasa, in severe pain abandons worldly niceties, chides "Yevadabba Sommani…" and quickly retreats. The guard lashes him and he gains composure, makes peace with "Ee Debaalakorvaka.. abba thitithinayya.." Good direction and expression.
We all recognize
at that point of time that "entering into a dialogue with the Divine" is
devotion. It happened to Ramadasa then that the Lord came rushing to save
His devotee and to Ananda here in her total identification of self with
Ramadasa. "Takkuvemi Manaku.."
The team consisted of Venu Madhav (music, vocal), Renuka Prasad (Jathi composition), TP Balasubramanyam (mridangam), L Anil Kumar (violin), Dattatreya (flute), Sridharacharya (rhythm), Ganesh Nalluri (costumes), Surabhi Purna Chandrasekhar (lights), Dr Rallabanda Kavita Prasad Raju, AS Murthy, Ranee Kumar (research).