Lord Narasimha’s entry in the Kathakali style…

Kuchipudi Master Vasanth Kiran

Khadri Narasimha Swamy temple situated in Kadiri in Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh stands tall as a historical and mythological proof for the Vijayanagara Empire’s excellence and its unmatched architecture. Prahlada sametha Sri Khadri Narasimha swamy temple is one of the prominent temples in Nava Narasimha kshetras.

The annual Brahmotsavam – 2021 took place in a grandeur. Well known Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dancer Natyacharya Vasanth Kiran, who built a residential Natya Gurukulam ‘Bharata Kala Grama’ especially for poor and underprivileged children and learners across the globe, performed on March 31. He presented a new multi-style dance drama with Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam and the protagonist character of Lord Narasimha in Kathakali style. Kathakali and Kuchipudi are part of the Natya Parampara, and it is in these two styles, the dramatic element is utmost visible. A dance production consisted of over 45 dancers, conceived and choreographed by Prof. Vasanth Kiran.

From establishing Ashta Dikpalakas, Vinayaka Stuti, Trimurti Prarthana, Sutradhara Gravesham, his students, with thorough training, performed their best. The drama began with Hiranyakashyapa sitting for penance to ask Lord Brahma a boon to bless him immortality. Not agreeing to his request, Brahma blessed that the Panchabhutas will not kill him; humans, Gandharva, Yaksha, etc., making him impossible to kill. The Pravesha of Hiranyakashyap, the role donned by Sri Ajay Srinivas, captivated the audience throughout his brilliant stage presence and body language to suit the character aptly. 

The performance immediately drew attention to Lord Narasimha’s entry in the Kathakali style to the live orchestra of Chenda, Maddalam, Ilathalam. All the artists arrived from Kerala. A dramatic entrance from the audience, which comprised over thousand in attendance, stood in awe and watched unmoved as Vasanth Kiran himself in Lord Narasimha’s role took on Hiranyakashyap. The scene ended with Narasimha Dandakam. Annamayya’s composition Kadiri Narasimhudu and Mangalam created spectacular imagery on stage. Surya as Prahlada, Krishna as Narada, Shilpa as Leelavati, Sneha as goddess Lakshmi stood out in the production. Acharya Vasanth said that Kadiri should soon be a cultural hub for world-class training and bring back Rayalaseema’s artistic glory once had.

Temple EO, Tahsildar Sri Maruti, Sri Hemant Kumar, SI, Sri Madhusudan Reddy, Dr Madan and many other dignitaries graced the event. Sri Nagendra Prasad very well anchored the whole programme.