Delhi recently witnessed a stellar Bharatanatyam performance. Disciple of Padma Vibhushan guru Dr Sonal Mansingh, young Bharatanatyam exponent Pallavi Saran Gujral delivered a beautiful recital ‘Tantram – the weave.’ Her rendition at Azad Bhavan, left all those present awestruck and inspired.
Pallavi has been a disciple of Dr Mansingh for over 16 years. She has presented widely acclaimed solo performances at prestigious cultural centres and international festivals across the world. Pallavi is also a recipient of the Rashtriya Ekta Award for Excellence in Dance, Nalanda Nritya Nipuna award, Singaramani Award as well as the Nritya Shiromani award. She is adept at discovering newer facets of traditional Bharatanatyam.
She informs Metrolife, “Today, my performance ‘Tantram – The Weave’ means ‘web’ in Sanskrit. It is a salutation to the feminine energy, Shakti or Devi that spins the eternal Tantram weave. We are forever caught in the web of Karma. Devi manifests in the form of Maya and Prakriti to bind us in worldly pursuits.”
“At the same time, it is mother Maya or Shakti herself, who destroys ego, ignorance, desire and illusion to free us of the web of Karma. Devi is therefore worshipped with intensity, love and self-dissolving concentration.”
Palavi first presented a composition by the legendary Dr M Balamurali Krishna. He prays to the Devi as Omkaara Karini – the source of Omkaara, the one from whom the terrible sound of Hoom emanates causing all who are evil to be destroyed. She performed Omkaara Karini in Raagam Lavangi and Taalam Aadi.
Her next presentation was a Varnam describing a devotee’s search for Lord Karthikeya’s blessings. She too wants unravel the Tantram of devotional pursuits which have made Karthikeya dear to Shiva and Shakti. She praises and even reproaches him in an effort to catch his attention. This was presented in Raagam Lathangi.
Then came a composition by Shri Kshetraiyya, choreographed by Dr Mansingh herself. It described the Sva-Vihara Tantram or the web of self-gratifying pre-occupations including elements of anger, desire and jealousy. A celestial maiden is angry with Lord Vishnu as he comes to her after dallying with another.
Lastly, she rendered the thrilling Bharatanatyam piece Tillana. Tillana is a celebration of pure dance combining a weave of complex rhythms and dance patterns. Pallavi’s Tillana referred to the seven musical notes as elements of devotional Tantram by which we can be liberate ourselves from the Sva-Vihara and Karma Tantram.