Sparkling puppet show

Music and dance reviews

Sparkling puppet show

Sparkling puppet show

The Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat had organised a puppet show at the H N  Kalakshetra on Friday by the Dhaatu Puppet Theater. The puppetry is a unique art and is quiet popular not only in India but also in many countries like Bulgaria, China, Turkey, Egypt, France, Russia etc.

Dhaatu Puppet Theater, founded by Vidyashankar Hosakere and Anupama Hosakere, is specialised in the art form of doll keeping and puppetry to tell stories from Indian epics. Dhaatu has performed on many prestigious platforms in both India and abroad and organises puppet festival every year, in a grand manner. It has successfully revived the Eachanur style of string puppetry and has so far produced several stories like Bhakta Prahlada, Harishchandra, Vijayanagara Vaibhava, Mooshika Katha, Leelavati (of Bhaskaracharya), Choodala, Nala Damayanthi, Shurpanakha Prasanga etc.

For the current show, Dhaatu had selected Astavakra, an interesting story from the ‘Aranya Parva’ of Mahabharatha, set in Upanishadic times. Due to the curse of his father (Kahola) Ashtavakra formed as bent in eight places from birth itself. Father Kahola loses a scholastic debate in the Maharaja’s court (with Vidwan Vandi) and is drowned in the waters. But Ashtavakra grows up to be a supreme intellect at the age of 10 itself and defeats Vandi. He brings back his father and also Astavakra emerges as cured of the curse.

The story was well narrated with the help of a Suthradhara (another puppet) with crisp screenplay. Appropriate costumes and jewellery and good lighting (Honnalingaiah) made the puppets glitter and music and dialogue also contributed to the success of the show. Director Anupama Hosakere along with puppeteers Mythily Shikarpur, Malini Chadaga, Sindhu Govindraj worked hard to make the puppet show an impactful one.

Many faces of Krishna

Mrudula Bhaskar, who gave a Bhar­atha­natya recital (Sri Ramanuja Kalakshetra,  Malleswaram) last week, is known both as a dancer and an actress. After learning with few well known teachers, she is now continuing her studies under A Lakshmanaswamy, Chennai, and has performed in several places.
Varna is a test piece for a dancer’s attainments as also endurance. Mrudula chose the popular Charukeshi varna of Lalgudi Jayaraman “Innum” as the main item of the evening. Her face brightened up as she unfolded the many faceted personality of Krishna. With a lithesome figure and charming face, she performed a devaranama, (Kadagola Tharenna – raga Yaman Kalyani), and a thillana (Balamurali Krishna – Brindavani raga). With ease and assurance she concluded with a Pashuram in ragamalika. Mrudula Bhaskar was supported from wings by Preethi Bharadwaj (Natuvanga), Jayanthi Raghavan (vocal), Lingaraju (mridanga) and Niteesh Ammannaiah (flute).

Good choreography

Padmabhushan Saroja Vaidyanathan is a veteran dancer, guru, choreographer and author of few books. Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai is conferring the title “Acharya Choodamani” on her, at the end of this month. On this occasion, ‘Swastika School’ felicitated her on Thursday. Three students of Saroja Vaidyanathan gave a Bharathanatya recital as a tribute to their Guru. Among them Anuradha Venkatram is a senior artiste known not only as a dancer but also as a teacher and choreographer. She opened her programme with a composition on Rama and Vaidehi. Of course, the piece de resistance of her recital was a Thodi varna of Swathi Tirunal in which she revealed that she has the potential to carry on the rich tradition. Her performance and choreography were neat and crisp.

The other two young dancers – Amrith Sinha and Kassiyet (Kazakhstan) presented a Swathi Tirunal composition “Shankara Srigiri” in Hamsanandi and a small thillana of Saroja Vaidyanathan. Their Abhinaya was falling short in enlivening. With some more higher training and stage experience they can reach great heights. Prema Sridhar, Deepthi Srinath, Nagaraj and Vivekrishna supported on natuvanga, vocal, mridanga and flute, respectively.


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