Celebrating women power
- Vijay Shanker
e-mail: vijaydance@gmail.com

March 26, 2013

Mumbai's leading suburban cultural organization Fine Arts Society in Chembur, celebrated International Women's Day on March 8th with the presentation of the dance-drama ‘Manini’. On this occasion, outstanding women who have excelled in various fields were felicitated with a shawl and a memento by the chief guest Justice Krishna, in the presence of Radhakrishnan and Ganesh Kumar of Fine Arts Society. Sushma Gopinath (Former Governor of Reserve Bank of India), Renuka Ramnath (ICICI Bank), Sunita Sinha (Aditya Birla Group), and Rama Vasantharajan (Birla SunLife) were honored. Justice Krishna said that women should be treated on equal terms with men and should be encouraged in all spheres of life as they have a vital role in shaping the society.

The dance drama ‘Manini’ incorporated varied roles of women like daughter, mother, lover, goddess and as the destroyer of all evil. The characters represented were Yasoda, Radha, Sakhi and Meera. The dance styles performed were Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Mohiniattam and Kathak and the dancers were Anu Narayan, Sangeetha Rajan, Sujata Nair Sanjay and Anonna Guha respectively. The performance commenced with a Bhagwathi Stotram in praise of the goddess. Exposing the benevolent and virile aspect of the goddess, this was performed well by all the four dancers in the varied dance styles. The highlight of this presentation was the destruction of the bull demon known as Mahishasur.

The Varnam exposed the varied facets of Krishna as the lover of Radha and protector of mankind and portrayed the saint poetess Meera who surrenders completely to the divine feet. It was interesting to note that in spite of the technical differences, there was a harmony in the entire presentation that made the performance a delightful spectacle. Archana Basu as Krishna was quite lively. The role of foster mother Yasoda was played by Sujata and interpreted in the famous Malayalam lullaby "Omana thingal kidavo" by Irayamman Thampi wherein the little infant is compared to beautiful nature and is considered the gift of God. The vatsalya bhavam was noteworthy.

The grand finale of the program was the Thillana. While all performed well, Anu Narayan stood out for the vivacious quality of her performance. On the whole, fine team spirit celebrated women power.

Vijay Shankar is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.