Let's do something different! That was the line that kept repeating in my head since the summer holidays. Bucketful of whacky ideas mailed (we even considered a classical nagin dance! :P), gigs of videos watched, hours of pondering and discussing and finally we decided on a contemporary main piece for NR. The theme for the piece was chosen as "Navarasa". A pretty tried and tested theme, we knew there was ample of scope for every artist. The challenge was to make it contemporary. And this challenge just got a tad tougher with the entry of 11 new members into the club skilled in arts as diverse as the organisms inhabiting this planet. We got two flautists, a sitarist, a tablist, a pot-ist, a mridangist, three vocalists (sorry five, one guy, one girl and second girl=3 guys :P), an odissi dancer and a bharatanatyam dancer. Enthusiasm and excitement in the club simply bloated up like a huge balloon (Shravan already had chosen his sem-partner!).
We embarked on the two month journey to NR - dancers started choreographing the dance and the musicians started composing music for the various emotions. Four different dance styles - the refined Bharata Natyam, the graceful Kathak, the elegant Odissi and the vibrant Kuchipudi... And to incorporate them all into one piece, maintaining the overall coordination and synchronization was an exhilarating challenge. Hark, we were excited about it! Focus was on simple uniform steps to achieve an overall rhythm, rather than putting in complicated steps and expression.
Hectic acads schedules began to take their toll on us. Psenti-semites worrying about jobs, and EEE-ites worrying about CDCs (rest all didn't give much of a damn tho ;P). Doubts arose on feasibility of such a massive piece. Musicians were already on their way to finishing music composition for the navarasa, it would not have been fair to guss their efforts like that. And there was no back up plan. We had to stick to Navarasa. Slowly but steadily we choreographed rasa after rasa. The enthu returned when it all began to take shape. New costumes were designed.
Last few days saw a flurry of mails sent of daily TODOs (reminded of Dipak's ASAPs), feverish practices, finalizing compering scripts, planning lights and teaching them to freshers. The run-throughs were a mix of work and fun, acads all forgotten. Wish, it was possible to forget them altogether and have every practice in audi only :P
Finally curtains were raised on 4th October to present NR 2k10 to a fairly decent size of audience. The margam for the evening was as follows:
1. Bho Shambho
Dancer: Aastha, Sushmitha
Musicians: Riddhi, Yudhajeet, Ajay, Hari
A dance depicting Lord Shiva's energetic Ananda Tandav as His devotee Nandi looks stunned and dances in His praise as well. The dance was full of picturesque poses, strong steps set to bold mridangam with a beautiful rendition by the singers.
Musicians: Preethi, Neeraja, Shravan, Ajay, Hari
The piece started with graceful Kuchipudi steps praising Lord Krishna and culminated in a fantastic plate dance which had the audience clapping and cheering like mad. The rendition of the song reminded of typical temple mornings with chanting of prayers and ringing of bells.
Musicians: Yudhajeet, Anubha, Sagar, Ajay
The best thing about the piece was that the team composed of all first yearites except Ajay, the mentor. While Kuheli was the perfect epitome of Odissi grace and vigour, the musicians made the piece a perfect present to the audience with their varied swaras and beats.
4. Enna thavam
Dancer: Namrata Raman
Musicians: Preethi, Ajay, Shravan, Hari
Nammu was in her best mommy role and devotee role in the piece. The devotee asks Yashoda, what good deeds have you done so as to have the Lord Himself call you His mother. The sanchari on Krishna's makhan chori was the most lovable part of the piece.
Dancer: Aishwarya, Aastha, Manjeera, Namrata Raman
Musicians: Preethi, Ajay, Shravan, Hari
As usual, the fast and fun piece of the concert is the thillana. This time's thillana just became too memorable as the audience got into the habit of treating us with applauses for every formations made on stage :P
Dancer: Namrata Jain
Musicians: Riddhi, Yudhajeet, Anurup Mitra sir (yeah profs also want to play with us now!)
The graceful twists and turns, the subtle expressions, the deft movements of the hands and fingers, the feet never missing a beat and the 28 chakkars.. With the soft music and perfect tabla rendition by sir the piece ended successfully the portrayal of all dance styles individually.
As mentioned before, the piece brought together all the dance styles and music styles together on the stage. The painful Karunya, the wondrous Adbuta, the beauty and love of Shringara, the fearsome Bhayanak, the disgusting Bibhatsa, the mirthful Hasya, the angerful Krodha, the valorous Veer and the peaceful Shanta. Use of different coloured lights and coloured dupattas for some of the rasas helped to emphasize their meanings. Bhayanak rasa and Adbhuta turned out to be audience favourites :)
All in all, the concert was a grand success. The contemporary style and the novel dresses were greatly welcomed by the audience. After the usual post concert crazy clicking mania, we went laughing and singing to sac. Pratik came down to attend the concert and it was great to have him that day. Kudos to Ajay for his innovative music compositions and musicians for rendering it all so well, and to dancers for their beautiful choreography. Kudos to juniors for their king-sized enthu, to the core batch for all their planning and organizing, to the psenti-semites for their last one performance, to the club.. for sticking together and making it happen... I was just smiling, for my psenti concert in Raag had just come to an end. My best one in the four years, and most memorable one too. Acknowledgments were being discussed, but those funds are for another time....