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Sarita Mishra's exquisite Odissi
- Prabal Gupta
Photos: Saroj Kumar Mishra

May 24, 2018

ICCR Bangalore organized an Odissi recital by Sarita Mishra under the Horizon series at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on May 19th. She commenced with an unusual Mangalacharan "Bhaje Brajeka Mandanam" choreographed by Guru Bichitrananda Swain and immediately created rapport with the audience. The item is based on the sloka which delineated the mental state of the people of Brajapur after Krishna demolished the evils. Beautiful and artistically designed costume, sophisticated makeup, immaculate stage presence coupled with years of dedicated and conscious practice brought out the potential in her right from the beginning.

However, the piece de resistance was "Soorpanakha Abhinaya" choreographed by her guru Bichitrananda Swain. Sarita's brilliant usage of dramatic elements while portraying her desire to win Rama's heart innocently and ultimately being rejected sarcastically by Lakshmana with the crux of the piece coming with her nose being chopped by him was brought out poignantly by the dancer. Sarita's assiduous training and the resultant expertise brought out her abhinaya prowess. An ekaharya abhinaya with Sarita's quick change of characters in succession without a slightest overdo spoke of her talent. Her continuous eye contact with the rasikas called for perfection. Sarita's precise footwork and the neat usage of the hasta mudras matched the exquisite grace of the percussion.

"Mahakali Stuti" is a popular choreography of her guru being performed by several Odissi dancers. Sarita handled the choreography magnificently and what was unique in it was her internalizing the piece to give it a brilliant self touch, yet keeping the traditional choreography intact. The 'S' curve as created during the tribhangi position with the beautiful permutation and combination of chowk, abhanga and tribhanga proved the dancer's grasp of the minute nritta technicalities as well. With her body in resolute control, one enjoyed her chala (torso movements) with her hip remaining steady as the torso shifted during the rhythmic phrase. Her shoulders reflected the movement of the torso gracefully.

Sarita's Odissi is divine sans utter sensuousness that can immerse a connoisseur into a state of transcendental bliss and making the aficionados spellbound. It was an immensely enjoyable evening.

Prabal Gupta is a Kathakali exponent and a disciple of Guru and research scholar Sadanam Balakrishnan.