Arupa Lahiry’s Nrithyaradhana in Udupi
- Radhika Shetty

June 17, 2015

Established in 1990, Nrityaniketana, Kodavoor, Udupi District, is celebrating its silver jubilee this year. To commemorate this occasion, they have been organizing classical dance concerts throughout the year, by upcoming as well as established artistes under the banner of Nrithyaradhana (fortnightly concert series for upcoming artistes) and Belli Sambrama (monthly concert series for established artistes). The organization headed by Guru Lakshmi Gururaj has been propagating the art form in and around Udupi for several years now.

New Delhi based dancer Arupa Lahiry, a student of Guru Chitra Visweswaran, recently performed as part of Nrithyaradhana -30. She left the audiences spellbound with her mature, graceful and impeccable performance. Arupa commenced her performance with a Pushpanjali in Gambheera Natai followed by the Vishnu Kauthuvam. Here the ten avataras of Lord Vishnu were neatly presented. The central piece of the evening’s recital was the varnam in raga Kalyani, adi tala, composed by Geetapriyan. This composition showcased Arupa's mastery in handling the nritta and abhinaya with equal grace and precision.  In this varnam, the nayika tells her friend that this is the right time to go and bring her Lord Krishna to her. Arupa then depicts the conversation of the nayika and the sakhi, the different moods of the sakhi and finally dressing her up suitably to be her messenger. The nayika then describes her Lord to the sakhi, his gait, shoulders, lips, eyes and divine feet.  She also tells the sakhi that he was a prankster who pretends to be very innocent. She then requests the sakhi to please bring to her, her Lord as she cannot bear the pangs of separation. Arupa’s involved abhinaya in the varnam helped the audience connect with each and every line of the composition. A special mention must be made of Kaushik Champakesan, nattuvanar and vocalist for the evening, who recited the jathis with impeccable precision and voice modulation. He was ably supported by K. Venkatsubramanium on the mridangam. Muralidhar K, Udupi, supported the performance on the flute.

The Devaranama Neenyako Ninna Hangyako set in Ragamalika, adi tala, was a composition of the saint poet Purandaradasa. Bhakti was the principle mood of this composition and this was ably portrayed by Arupa. Here the stories of Narasimha avatara and Draupadi Vastrapaharana were presented subtly without any exaggeration. Since this composition was in Kannada, the local audiences were delighted with the composition and Arupa’s portrayal of the same. She concluded with a thillana, a composition of R. Visweswaran in Brindavana Saranga interspersed with the Madhurastakam. The compositions presented during the evening’s recital were choreographed by Arupa’s guru Chitra Visweswaran. 

Radhika Shetty is a Bharatanatyam performer and founder-director of Nrityaangan, Mangalore.