Elevating performance by Pavitra Bhat
- Vijay Shanker
e-mail: vijaydance@gmail.com  

December 10, 2016

Bharatanatyam exponent Pavitra Bhat, disciple of Guru Deepak Mazumdar, received a standing ovation for his elevating performance at the Sivaswamy Auditorium of the Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and Sangeetha Sabha in Mumbai on 22nd November.

Pavitra commenced his performance with invocations, performing Pushpanjali in Nagaswaravali ragam and adi talam. The interesting composition was the combined presentation on Ganesha Pancharatna with Chatushra Tisra alarippu. Pavitra’s entry itself attracted the applause of the audience, as he performed in his flamboyant style.

“Mudakaraata Modakam” was a tribute to MS Subbulakshmi’s 100th birthday celebrations.  “Salutations to Sri Vinayaka, who holds in his hand a modaka (a sweetmeat) and who  always strives to accomplish the liberation of his devotees towards that divine joy, who holds the digit of the moon as his ornament and with a joyful spirit protects the world; who is without any master but is himself the only master for his devotees, and protects them by destroying the (inner) demons of those who surrender to him. He destroys the   inauspicious tendencies quickly. I salute Sri Vinayaka and surrender to him.” The alarippu woven in-between the invocation was the speciality of this number, a composition of Prof. C. V. Chandrashekar.

The elaborate varnam that lasted for 50 minutes intermingled with abhinaya and rare jathi patterns, seeking instant appreciation from the audience was “Devadi Deva Nataraja,” a composition of Veena Seshanna in Shanmukhapriya ragam set to adi talam. Devotee seeks blessings of lord Shiva by taking glimpses of the 5 sacred famous sabhas namely the Kanaka Sabha made of gold, Rajata Sabha made of silver, Rakta Sabha made of bronze, Tamra Sabha made of copper and Chit Sabha where in temple you see various magnificent pictures of lord Shiva. The devotee comes across the pillars which are 1000 in numbers, huge elephants, chariots and is spellbound looking at the grandeur of this holy place. Ravana, an ardent devotee of lord Shiva does penance for attaining the atmalingam. As his penance fails he tries to please Shiva by playing the rudra veena. Ravana was a talented veena player. To test his worship and dedication the strings of veena break. Further to continue his worship he does strong penance with flowing tears, opens his stomach, takes the intestine and uses it as strings to play the veena. This true devotion of Ravana moves Shiva. The abhinaya was elevating due to the dramatic intensity.
In ‘Nandanaar Charitram,’ Nandanar, a lower caste devotee wasn’t allowed to enter the holy shrine hence he tries to have glimpse of the lord from various angles. He tries to step into the temple pushing all other devotees by sneaking in but the upper caste devotees push him back. Tired of this, he cries and falls down and to his surprise he sees that even from far he is not able to see the lord as Nandi, the bull, obstructs his view. Then there is thunder and lightning and he is astonished as he watches Nandi move aside to give him a grand darshan where Shiva himself emerges and sees the devoted Nandanar. Shiva dances in the holy shrine of Chidambaram with bhava, raga and talam, the famous tandava. The jatis are composed by veteran Guru T.S. Kadhirvelu Pillai and Kalishwaran Pillai. This day also marked the 14th year remembrance day of Guru Kadhirvelu Pillai.

“Paluke Bangaaramaayena” is a popular Telugu composition of Kancherla Gopanna, popularly known as Bhakta Ramadasu or Bhadrachala Ramadas who lived in the 17th century. He had written hundreds of songs on Lord Rama. “O Kodandapani! O Rama! Your voice has become so rare like gold. Why don't you speak even a single word? O unforgettable person! How much ever I call you, you never speak a single word. I can't forget your name even in my dreams. But still you never reply to me. How much ever I pray to you, I don't get even a small drop of your mercy. How can you be so rigid with me? I am a puny little creature compared to you and is it right for you to act like that? Aren't you titled the great saviour of the needy? You saved a squirrel when it asked for help. You saved Ahalya when you saw her as a stone. O protector of Bhadrachala Ramadasa! Please show pity on me.”  Choreography was by Guru Anitha Guha. It was a tribute to maestro Balamurali Krishna.
The concluding numbers were the javali incorporating the angry wife and the intricate thillana in Sindubhairavi attracting instant appreciation from the audience. Pavitra was accompanied by Kalishwaran Pillai on nattuvangam, Mangalam Krishnan on vocal, Satish Krishnamurthy on mridangam, KS Jayaram on flute and Narayan on violin.
Vijay Shankar is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.