On 6th April at Habitat Centre T. Reddy Lakshmi, a disciple of Guru Jayarama Rao and Vanashree Rao gave a scintillating solo Kuchipudi performance. She was in an excellent form. With nattuvngam by GuruPadmaa Shri V. Jayarama Rao and with live accompaniment of musician’s vocalist Satish Venkatesh, on mridangam T.Kesavan, flute Prasanna, Violin Raghavendra Prasath and lighting by Sandeep Dutta the performances took off on a typical Kuchipudi mode.
After the traditional prayer, Lakshmi enacted from Prahlad Charitram play the Patra Pravesh daru, entrance song of Hiranyakashipu with movements becoming a King with all valour and heroism. The description mentioning his effluence, power and terror were enacted by Lakshmi in an impressive manner. Hiranyakashipu is also known as Kanakshipu. With the crown studded with diamonds dazzling and shinning like hundred suns, the subject frightened by his rule and his might scared even the devas, the Gods in the heaven. He says with arrogance that he is invincible, none can kill him, he has a boon and he is supreme.
But he is very upset at his son Prahlada who only worships, chanting name of Lord Narayana. When he scolds Prahlada, Prahlada tells that Lord Narayana is supreme God. Enraged Hirnayakshipu challenges him about Lord’s omnipresence. He questions Prahlada if Narayana is even in a pillar and strikes it with his mace. And out comes half- man, half- lion Narsimha who lifts Hirnkyakashipu and places him on his lap, opens his stomach, takes out entrails and kills him.
The entire dramatic episode was performed by Lakshmi, creating distinct roles of Hiranyakashipu, Prahalada and ferocious Narasimha in natyashastra terminology of ekaharya lasyanga, dressed in one costume and enacting different roles.
In complete contrast Lakshmi performed the next number of Puchi Srineevas Iyengar’s javali. She unleashed all the arrows, as it were of Kamadeva, for shringara depiction. Coquetry was at her disposal. When her beloved knocked on the door, she gently opened it and was surprised to see him wanting to accompany her for love play. She begged of him not to come at this hour, when her in-laws were asleep and would wake up. Not letting go end of her sari, pallu, the lover wanted to embrace her passionately. She pleaded to him that if others passing from the road and neigbours would catch her in his arms, they would gossip and she would not be able to walk freely in the street. The intense love play she relishes, the kisses and embrace et al, but this was not the right time. Displaying all the charms of a nayika, Lakshmi performed the nuances of love play beautifully registering bhavas in a delectable manner.
Jatiswaram woven into a Tarangam, when she danced on the brim of a brass plate was in keeping with the talas, like jugalbandi, and brought down the house. She looked like Goddess Lakshmi rising from the ocean. Her command over the technique, as polished by Guru Padma Sri V. Jayarama Rao, was praiseworthy.
Since I saw her this year at the prestigious The Music Academy Dance Festival at Chennai in January, where she received critical appreciation, her recent performance indicated that now she has ‘arrived on the scene’.
The final prayer with Om Shanti created a serene, devotional mood.
The compering was done by Jyoti Krishnamoorthy. With continues practice, guidance and persistence Lakshmi will go places on sheer merit of her art.