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Innovative approach in Samarpan
One would have least expected to see elements that were present in Samarpan, the nearly two- hour Kuchipudi dance ensemble presented by Madhav Pedhi Murthy, Shobha Natrajan and six other talented young dancers. Being the students of Padma Bhushan Vempatti Chinnasathyam, the two lead dancers created this as an offering to their guru on his 80th birthday. With O.S Arun on the vocals and special instruments such as sitar and pakhwaj, the production had an extremely different quality to it in terms of the audio. The production has already been staged to audiences abroad.

The Chennai rasikas had an opportunity to watch it this season on December 27 at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium, courtesy the Bramha Gana Sabha. Starting with a Surdas’s bhajan ``Gaayiye Ganapati’’, the group of dancers presented visual treat in terms of formations and patterns. Episodes from Vinayaka's life came as sancharis and this piece had good sync in terms of all dancers being in tune with each other. This was followed by the effervescent Pancharathna keerthana `Jagadha nanda karaka’’, a typical gem choreographed by Chinnasathyam. Every time the movement - from Shiva’s posture to the breaking of the bow - was shown, it brought back nostalgic memories of the same song performed by Vempati’s students in so many shows. Rama's story was shown very nicely with crisp abhinaya, the essence of the keerthana brought in front of our eyes in complete detail. This was followed by a Tarangam, something that was quite messy though it showed glimpses of good choreography. The music and choreography couldn't be called flawed. Parama Karunaya depicted the greatness of Vishnu. This was followed by a unique combination of a Ghazal in Kuchipudi dance form. Showing the power of art in bridging perceived differences, Murthy did a wonderful job in this piece as the lovelorn nayaka singing for his lady love. Every time Arun crooned "Shabnam Kahoon, Sholah Kahoon" in his romance- filled voice, a very passionate Murthy depicted the same emotion in his body and face. This was followed by a typical Kuchipudi-style Javali in Mohanam. ``Mohamella’’, a solo piece by Shobha Natrajan, showcased a sarcasm and sardonic humour-filled nayika's angry dialogue with her unfaithful man. There was one place where she gave an expression of a real sarcastic kind of a laugh, that showed her maturity in abhinaya. This was followed by one more fusion-style piece - `Yani’ in Kuchipudi-style. The thought is appreciable but practice could have made it much more enjoyable for the audience. Another Surdas bhajan, `Gopi Gopala Bala’ proved to be enjoyable and the performance ended with the famous Poorvi rag Tillana. Overall, it was a show to be remembered for the innovative approach to Kuchipudi. The garish costumes and make-up for the dancers could have been avoided and a cleaner finish could have been worked upon.