A Bharatnatyam Breather

Santanu Chakraborty

On the 10th of May, Santanu Chakraborty gave a Bharatanatyam performance at the IHC in Delhi. After the heat and traffic snarls on the Delhi roads, a performance like this is really a breather.

Santanu is a Bharatanatyam exponent trained by Smt Sonal Mansingh and Smt Geeta Chandran, and at present, he is training under Guru V. Krishnamoorti. He has been awarded the ‘Rashtriya Ekta Award’ in memory of the late Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

Santanu, while talking about the performance, said," I was on a teaching assignment with ICCR for three years and ever since my return I have been training under my guru Shri V Krishnamoorti. He has choreographed and sung the pieces I performed today. I try and perform on male oriented themes based on Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, Vishnu and Shiva. I would prefer to tell my stories through dance with energy and agility rather than doing a solo padam or javali involving a lot of abhinaya." Asked about the abhinaya pieces he did that day, he said that he did them because they involved a lot of movement and energy.

The performance began with a pushpanjali, an offering to Lord Ganesha, followed by shlokas. The next piece was a mela prapti. It is a pure dance piece as an obeisance to Lord Shiva who is worshipped as the God of dance. Shiva is worshipped as the Umapati, Shankar, as the one who is adorned by snakes and has a third eye. The piece was performed by Santanu and his disciples with good technique.

The next piece was a solo by Santanu. It was abhinaya based on the bhajan – Shri Ram Chandra Kripalu Bhaja Man. The recorded song was in the voice of Lata Mangeshkar. The translation into pure Bharatanatyam was very well conceptualized and enacted with some good stances. The Lord who has lotus feet, hands and eyes, takes on the task of vanquishing evil for His devotees.

The fourth piece was based on ‘Shakti’ or Devi. In Hindu mythology, Devi is worshipped in various forms. The composition was sung and choreographed by Shri V Krishnamoorthy. Devi is worshipped as the Ganesh janani, Durga, Laxmi, Radha , Saraswati, Gauri ,Parvati, Draupadi. Durga is ferocious, Draupadi is characterized by her anger whereas Radha is coy and kind. The expressions and abhinaya by Santanu and his disciples, with well-rehearsed stances, left a mark. The last piece was a Tillana in rag Valachi in aaditalam. It was a solo by Santanu. The dancer seeks the blessings of Lord Shiva to make him successful as a dancer. The nritta piece had some good footwork, soft-footed leaps, and the depiction of Nataraj.