Women’s Day was aptly celebrated by Guru Shama Bhate’s band of gritty dancers with the powerful production, ‘Stri man ki Anchhuee Gahariyan’.
Presented in the dance drama mode, the crisp, short presentation, although showcased as a drama, had equal measure of Kathak- in its resplendent, applied best.
Guru Shamatai proved once again, her pakkad on the Kathak rhetoric. Even more pronounced was the unique thought process behind the presentation. A compilation of five unsung heroines from our mythology, literature, history, the repertoire is presented in first person by the compere for each character.
The US returned scholar dusts out the Ramayana from the forgotten top aisle of the library as she delves into the tragedy that was Ahalya. “Koi Gautam, koi Indra, Koi Rama….who gets the right to decide her destiny?” Ketaki Shah’s excellent diction and throw set the pace for the evening as the very elegant Avani Gadre performed a compelling portrayal of Ahalya.
The juxtaposition of each segment with group dancers creating the tableau while the protagonist’s angst reached out beautifully and kept the audience rapt.
The next sequence of Rani Durgavati, valiantly rushing into battle and being felled by an arrow in a moment of weakness upon witnessing her son achieve martyrdom. Shambhavi Kulkarni as Durgavati, although emoted the part well, fell little short in the group sequence, with movements not coordinated with the rest.
The best choreographic and interpretative part was that of Sakhi. Presented as an ode to the unnamed Sakhi in Poet Jayadeva’s Gita Govind, the nameless voice expresses her turmoil as she questions her own identity and allows her brimming emotions to surface. As the go between Radha and Krishna, she voices her pangs of being invisible. This depiction was by far a masterpiece from Shamatai and equally well rendered by both the Narrator Shilpa Bhide and the dancer as the alter ego, Bhargavi Sardesai. A real hatke punctuation!
Following suit was the clichéd Sati scene, in memory of the many nameless victims of the vicious societal evil. In spite of the banality of the topic, the young Shivani Karmarkar’s moving performance and the brilliant choreography and Ragini Nagar’s Rajasthani commentary ensured hair raising moments.
The finale act was the portrayal of Hidimba by Ameera Patankar. A power packed performance that stretched Ameera’s recesses and she came out trumps. Force, strength, power with an ethereal mix of Feminine charm, Ameera gave a rock-solid performance and transcended into the character perfectly.
Overall a heart-warming performance by all. Salute to the creator, Shamatai for the deep, thought provoking, yet entertaining presentation.
The nearly perfect presentation was just slightly marred by poor technicals. From the whine of the collar mikes, to late start and fade out of lights, and shabby levels on stage that were left unmasked could have been tightened. But, that said, one cannot deny that it was a fitting premiere for Women’s day.
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