A touching story of devotion

Dance ballet

From the captivating opening scene to the closing sequence, the premier show of Bibi Nachiyar, a dance ballet, had all the ingredients to hold the audience spellbound.

The event, which was held recently, under the auspices of Sri Ramanuja Seva Trust at the Yavanika Auditorium, marked the run up to the millennium celebrations (1017- 2017) of Acharya Sri Ramanuja. The ballet draws inspiration from the much cherished story of Melkote Cheluvanarayanaswamy in true historic perspective with finesse and integrity. It is set against the backdrop of the temple town, which fell prey to the attack of a sultan, who ransacked its treasures.

A scene from Bibi Nachiyar.The utsav murthy of the temple was taken away by him as war booty. Enraptured by the beauty of the idol, the princess, Bibi, kept it with her. Years later, Ramanuja had a dream in which Hirunarayana asked him to retrieve his idol from the sultan’s hands.

Ramanuja called on him and convinced him to return the idol. The sultan, however, said that his collections were far too many. It was then that Ramanuja endearingly called out Ramapriya.

Much to the astonishment of the entire court, the idol in child form came dancing
towards Ramanuja and sat on his thigh.

When the idol was brought back to Melkote, Bibi could not bear the separation and followed it to Melkote.

She lived in Melkote for the rest of her life. Today, an idol of hers adorns at the feet of the utsav murthy to commemorate her memory.

The ballet, presented by the students of Vaishnavi Natyashala, was well-crafted and choreographed under the direction of guru Mithun Shyam. He essayed the role of Ramanuja with great aplomb and devotion. Apart from the choice of ragas to which the lyrics were set, the dance movements carried the befitting nuances of bharata­natyam, mohiniyattam and kathak.

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