A performace of “Rukmani Kalyanam” that goes back to a 600 year old dance/theatre form held rasikas spellbound. at Brahma Gana Sabha on December 26. The cliché that art is permanent kept coming to mind..
Melattur Mali, the director says that it has been brought to focus, out from the confines of Melattur and areas surrounding Thanjavur largely because of the support of arts promoter, Dr. Nalli Kuppuswami Chetti who was there throughout the programme. There are no elaborate sets, he says-just gorgeous costumes that create the character and ethos.
A fire a couple of years ago reduced the splendid costumes to ashes and had to be recreated. This is where philanthropists like Nalli Kuppuswami and sabhas played a pivotal role.
The Narasimha mask is still in tact even with the passage of time but cannot be brought out of Melattur. So a replica has been made for performances outside these precincts.
The all male performers did themselves proud.
Rukmani was played to perfection with the grace, mannerisms and charm that characterize female charisma. So true to form in pure dance, and abhinaya that you tended to forget that it was played by a male artiste.Bhishmaka, Rukmi and Shishupala and a radiant Krishna were perfect in their roles.
Folk characters like the fortune teller with his traditional high decibel little drum, a kuratti who is asked to tell Rukmani’s fortune brought in the rural touch. The kuratti, who has to finish chewing her betel leaf and also pull out that annoying louse from her hair before she gets down to work brought in the humour. The seductive swing of her (or his?) hips and coy glances deserve mention A morning well spent and an opportunity to be part of the audience in an art form that comes to us in our metro was a chance well worth waiting for.
Reported by Geetha Iyengar
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