Saudi Gazette report
JEDDAH — Renowned danseuse Shelna Vijay of Mudra School of Dance, Jeddah, mesmerized the large gathering of art lovers through Bharatham, a dance drama arangetram or initiation program of Bharatanatyam of her three disciples at Indian Consulate premises recently.
Bharatanatyam is a major genre of Indian classical dance that originated in Tamil Nadu, south India, with the performer rhythmically narrating a story or an incident with unique hand and facial gestures while moving expressively to a distinctive tune.
Falling in line with the glorious and centuries old tradition of illustrious sage Bharatha, whose Natyasastra is the authoritative theoretical text on performing arts and is considered as the fifth Veda, the classical dance is a well refined performance art and one of the oldest classical dance tradition of India.
Along with the arangetram — the stage when a Bharatanatyam student is said to have become well-versed in the arts of the dance form to be a veritable exponent — three books written in Malayalam were released at the book launching ceremony heal earlier.
Three dramas, Veer Bhagath Singh, AD 2500, and Ithi Manuantharam Subham by Kalidas Puthuman were released by Saudi Gazette Executive Editor L. Ramnarayan Iyer by presenting the books to Ms. Shelna Vijay.
Malayalam literatis Gopi Nedungadi, Musafir and Abu Iringattiri respectively gave a brief introduction of the three books. They stressed that the books apart from being an historical record, provide insights into human nature and underscored the discipline and vision through metaphors in the characters.
Indian Consul General Noor Mohammad Rahman Sheikh and his wife Nasneen Rahman Sheikh together inaugurated the program which was an audio-visual treat par excellence.
Jeddah Media Forum President P. M. Mayinkutty presided over the function and N. Shanto, Saju and Rajiv conducted the event. Mayinkutty in his address lauded the Mudra School of Dance for providing a platform for the young students to learn and hone their skills in the performing arts, while also praised Puthuman’s books as a must read to stay linked with our past, while discerning lessons from it.
The dance drama show, based of the famed fable of King Vikramaditya’s astuteness and intelligence being challenged by a canny Vethalam (ghost), was narrated in the format of dialogue between Vikramaditya and Vethalam.
The two are all time favorite characters of Indian fairy tale. The story was a combined effort by Kalidas Puthuman, Ms. Shelna’s father, well known drama writer and director and Anil Narayana, veteran stage art manager of Jeddah. Narayana and Shelna handled the direction.
What made the dance drama a visual treat was the brilliant fusion of dance and drama choreographed with magnificent props and backdrops managed by modern technology.
The element of the storyline was connected through the seamless transformation of the scenes, but it was the grace, rhythm and energy of the dancers that made the story come to life, for it was the artists interpretation with they mudras (gestures) that gave meaning to the story.
Three students, Atulya Saju, Jyothirmayi Rajeev and Ashley Shando did their arangetram or initiation performance in Bharathanatyam with Saji, Neha Joji, Fiona, Sivaprasad, Ziyad, Joji, Saju, Vinay Vijay, Rajesh Perintalmanna, Adityan playing the roles of supporting actors of the tale play.
There’s beauty in precision and that’s what the Bharatanatyam exponents provided on the day. They showed with their precise movements that dance is like a language and with each move you learn a part of the story such that the dancers held a rhythmic conversation with the audience.
A grand background ambiance with stunning stage effects was created through 3D technology by Rahoof. Sunil Mangalassery, Mohan Nooranad, Pranavam Unnikrishnan and Saji Panickar were technical assistants of the program.