Conceived and choreographed by Anita Mullick, a brilliant Bharatnatyam dancer, ‘Naibedya’ was offered at Gyan Manch on September 10. Saraswat, Mullick’s 28-year-old institution, presented traditional Bharatnatyam numbers along with choreographies based on Tagore songs. The programme began with talakrira and moved forward with a bunch of traditional presentations. Ganapati todayam, a duet presentation by Rumela Chakraborty and Rajib Mandol, was impressive. Chakraborty’s neat hand gestures, leg extensions and crisp footwork made the presentation enjoyable. Varnam, the most difficult element in Bharatnatyam, requires expertise in both nritta (pure dance) and nritya (abhinaya). Dressed in a white, orange and gold costume, Mullick looked gorgeous. Mullick seemed to communicate eloquently through her eyes. However, she could have chosen a shorter presentation to do justice to her performance.
Her next presentation was a padam. This famous number, “Krishna nee begane baro”, almost synonymous with Balasaraswati, a legend in Bharatnatyam, was a rather short piece. Her vatsalya abhinaya was elegant. The tillana in a duet composition was an average presentation. The concluding part of the evening was Meghamallar, a choreography based on Tagore songs inspired by the rains. To capture the mood and the melody of the monsoon, “Nilo anjano ghano punjo chhayae, aji jharo jharo mukharo” was choreographed in an authentic manner. The fluent entry and exit of dancers in different groups created a sense of continuous movement. However, the costumes that was worn by the dancers were not elegant. This reviewer has witnessed better choreography based on Tagore songs by Mullick on previous occasions.
It took quite a while to get to the music though. There was the customary 40-minute delay. The audience got impatient but the compère, Raya Bhattacharya, tried to tackle the situation in an intelligent manner. After these hindrances, Riddhi Bandyopadhyay took the stage along with Ranjan Bandyopadhyay, who presented a well-researched narration. Picasso presented these two artists in Tridharae Tin Kabi to explore the compositions of Dwijendralal Roy, Atulprasad Sen and Rajanikanta Sen at the G.D. Birla Sabhaghar on August 24. Bandyopadhyay, a disciple of Krishna Chattopadhyay, captured the manners and moods peculiar to the composition of each of these stalwarts through effortless, melodious renditions.
The sufferings Atulprasad experienced in his unhappy married life found its way into such songs as “Jabo na jabo na jabo na ghare”, which Bandyopadhyay sang with emotion and expression. Both “Ogo nithur daradi” and “Amay rakhte jadi apan ghare” were soul-stirring performances. Since this part of the show started rather late, it failed to do justice to the content of the entire programme.