Author: Narayana Vishwanath; Photo Courtesy: The Hindu

In any form of dance, to create an artistic excellence, it is certain that empowerment of body and mind, towards achieving, is linked to the dancer’s sense of self identity.

“Janani Jagat Karini”, a thematic presentation, for Brahma Gana Sabha, dedicated to “Mother” and the dance an offering to Mohiniattam dancer Gopika Varma’s, Pradana Guru An Mother, was appealing, not only emotionally but also visually.

Witnessing noted Mohiniattam exponent, Gopika Varma, was an experience in phenomenological perspective, When she presented “Janani Jagat Karini”, and her passionate expression synthesising with crispiness and excellent abhinaya, with grace and elegance, was remarkable.

She commenced with “Chol kettu” followed by “Matru panchakam” of Adi Sankara, recited by him at his mother’s death bed, fulfilling the promise, he made to his mother, in the five slokas, , which came out deep from the mind of Adi Sankara, the bava truly reflected the inner mind of the Jagad Guru. In her offering to Ma (one who bears the child) Janani (who gives birth to a child).  Amba (who nourishes the child) , Veerasu (who makes him a hero) Shushree (who takes care of him). Be it the excellent choreography by Gopika Varma and the Kaanada Chol kettu,  followed by ” Maatru panchakam”, in Darbari Kaanada, betrayed a deep  understanding of the “love of the mother”, the abhinaya’s  exhibited by Gopika Varma, brought out the various moods, in confirmity with the lyrics of the compositions, with stress on the emotional reactions, was a treat to watch.

The varnam that followed, with emphasis of immeasurable love, towards Mother,  to unconditional supplication, her nuanced feeling with deep involvement, with an expressive language of eyes and hands and plethora of body movements and stances, was a picture of devotion with focus on ” Attukal Bhagavathy temple” (sabarimalai of women) , as women form,  a major portion of the devotees, when Goddess Bhagavathy, reveals herself to a fervent devotee, of a notable family, with a demand for establishing an abode for her, in the near by sacred ground of shrubs and herbs. The dancer was intrinsically musical.

In the anupallavi, when dancer Gopika, narrates the story of the Devi, who is supposed to be the divinised form of “Kannagi”, who is said to be the incarnation of “Parvathi”, is also worshiped as “Saraswathi”, during “Ushat,kala pooja” and “Lakshmi” at noon and as “Durga”, in the “Sandhya kalam”, at this temple.

The ending thillana on “Parashakthi”, composed by Lalgudi with rhythm, followed by a rare poetry of Bankim Chandra Chaterjee, the prolific writer, was a hymn dedicated to “Maatru bhoomi”

On the whole, the programme, brought out the aesthetic sense of the offerings, with non chalant ease and grace, with a happy blend of technical excellence in lighting and sound in presentation.

Certainly Gopika Varma proved that she is a creative artist of rare excellence, and her originality in conceptualisation and expression, made this presentation unforgettable.

A special word of praise for Arun Gopinath (vocalist), whose golden voice touched our hearts in the company of mirdangam (Nagarajan), violin (Sunil Bhaskar), (Kalamandalam Suresh Kumar) edakka, nattuvangam – Swarna Sahsra.