Bhaskar Rao sammelan begins Shovana masters a moist stage for kathak’s love

Bhaskar Rao sammelan begins
Shovana masters a moist stage for kathak’s love
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The beauty of Shovana Narayan’s recitals never seems to end. No matter how often you have watched her in concert, she manages to decorate every presentation with something more enthralling, more educative. And if that was less to hold the audience captive this evening, she almost made it breathless by swaying away on divine rhythms with admirable ease on a floor as moist as waterbed.

Conquering the challenge posed by a wet stage floor at the Pracheen Kala Kendra’s Sector 71 complex, which hosted the inaugural recitals of the four-day Bhaskar Rao Sammelan, Shovana kept the affair of rhythm going. She wove a web of classic presentations to reflect kathak in its original, enchanting, vigorous, sensitive yet sensuous form.

In fact, she did not just dance. She educated the audience on what this North-Indian classical tradition was all about, by actually narrating “kathas” during the spell of presentation. No wonder the venue for the inaugural session of the Lala Mela Ram Utsav was packed well beyond capacity.

In the true kathak legacy, she sang dance pieces and then danced them out, using the finest techniques of kathak. Mastering the technique better with every fresh presentation, the danseuse carefully measured safe patches on the moist stage lest the audience was treated to something awkward. At one point, the presentation became so difficult that the floor had to be wiped twice with a dry piece of cloth, but to no avail.

Cutting short the traditional technical expositions of kathak, Shovana settled for abhinaya-pradhaan sequences, further enthralling the audience with the charm of her narration. Beginning the sequence with the episode of Sujata, whose reference has been made legendary by the fact that Lord Buddha ended his fast by accepting her offering of kheer, Shovana went on to emote on the space of performance, giving to the audience what it most demanded. Among the most striking pieces in the abhinaya sequence were her implorings to Lord Buddha as Sujata and her adulation of Lord Krishna as Yashoda.

Shovana was accompanied on stage by Shaqeel Ahmad on tabla, Madhav Prasad on vocals, Vijay on sitar. The lights were arranged by Nitin Jain. The dancer and her troupe was later honoured by K.P. Bhaskar, who runs a music academy in Singapore and Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune.

After an absolutely engaging kathak presentation by Shovana, the stage was set for Wadali brothers who further enriched the concert by their sufiana offerings that began with the timeless poetry of Baba Shah Hussain and went on to laud Heer and Ranjha’s spiritual bonding through a delightful presentation of Waris Shah’s verses on Heer.