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Artistic tribute to Mahakavi Kalidasa by Mahagami artistes
- Anand Nandi
Photos: Rajesh Mulkewar

July 26, 2019

An innovative dance production 'Jaladasamaye' based on Grishma-Varsha ritu sections of Kalidasa's Ritusamharam was presented recently by Mahagami artistes with a touch of brilliant imagination, refinement and poetic exploration. Conceived, choreographed and directed by Parwati Dutta (Guru and Director of Mahagami Gurukul), this Kathak-Odissi-Natya presentation transported the audience to the period of Kalidasa. The production brought alive the rich poetic creations of Kalidasa, the profound Sanskrit legacy and the ancient Natya tradition of dance, drama and abhinaya.

'Jaladasamaye' began with a delightful 'Nati Samvaad' by two young dancers who introduced the performance through Sanskrit dialogues. A recreation of 'Purvarang' from Bharata Muni's Natyashastra brought forth the ceremonial proceedings through chanting and rhythmic patterns. An invocation to Surya set to raag Lalit described attributes of the deity and his chariot of seven horses. The imaginative adaptation of Surya Namaskar evoked the idea of the rising Sun.

Exploration of Grishma ritu began with the shloka 'Prachand Surya...' and 'Nishah Shashank...' which indicated how one finds relief in moonlight, sprinkled water, fragrant flowers in summer. With more intense summer, trees and creepers dry out, animals helplessly wander in search of water, and men folk are subjected to sudden loss of resources and life due to forest fires. A scene on animals in search of water interestingly depicted through tatkaar patterns by Kathak dancers and stylised 'chaali' (gait) by Odissi dancers was an unparalleled approach that brought forth multiple layers of imaginative delineation. Ranging from sublime movements in the beginning part of summer set to raag Sarang, to the next in raag Bhatiyar lending more gravity and finally the pathos in raag Darbari, the Sanskrit verses were musically composed by Parwati Dutta.

The beginning of rainy season was composed in an exceptionally unusual way- through sounds of claps and ghunguru. A vibrant rhythmic dialogue between Padhant (utterances) and Vadya portrayed vivid pictures of thundering clouds, lightning and rain drops. The interpretation of first shloka of Varsha ritu 'Sasikarambhodhar..' stunned the beholders when the imageries of clouds, intoxicated elephant and the drums were simultaneously created through dance movements. Abhisarika nayika, vipralabdha and svadhinapatika nayika found suggestive description in later passages in which a dancer sang the Sanskrit verses with abhinaya, thus transporting the audience to Kalidasa's period. The dance production moves to the crescendo where fast-paced movements symbolize heavy rain and rapid flow of water bodies.

Jaladasamaye was a treat to the concert goers and Sanskrit lovers present in the program. Parwati Dutta is known for her inimitable style of creative exploration, ideation and path-breaking compositions. The dancers trained by her displayed good training, coordination, maturity in form and expression. The production was indeed an elating journey with rich musical support, aesthetically designed costumes and evocative light design.

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