When Alekhya takes stage, the who's who of society lands up. If you don't believe us, ask Shiela Dixit. Or yourself.
Trishna is presenting a Kuchipudi dance ballet, Lakuma Swantam, by Dr Alekhya Punjla and her disciples, on 22nd June at the Ravindra Bharathi. Lakuma Swantam is a dance drama based on the life of Lakuma Deva, a 14th century courtesan in the court of Kumaragiri Reddy.
The emergence of the Kondaveeti Reddy Rajas between 1325 and 1424 as benevolent rulers of a major part of the Kakatiya area, with the domain extending upto Orissa, coincided with the decline of the Kakatiya kingdom. One such prominent king amongst the Reddy Rajas was Kumaragiri Reddy (1386-1402).
Kumaragiri, apart from being a very able ruler, was a connoisseur of art and culture. His brother-in-law, Kateya Vema Reddy, was largely responsible for helping out the king with good governance. He was credited with expanding the boundaries of the kingdom through well thought-out wars with neighbouring states.
During Kumaragiri's rule, Vasantha Ruthuvu was heralded with great pomp and grandeur with the annual Vasanthotsava celebrations. It was during one of these indulgences, during Vasantha Ruthuvu carnival, that Kumaragiri's eyes fell on one of the dancers Lakuma Devi, and he was deeply bewitched by her beauty as well as her dancing prowess.
Kumaragiri immediately appointed Lakuma Devi as the Raja Narthaki, and spent his time witnessing her dance while being lured deeper by her beauty. This dance-drama unfolds the saga of their love, commitment, duty, and the sacrifice that follows...
The central character of Lakuma Devi is being portrayed by Dr Alekhya Punjla, while Vedantam Venkatachalapathi as Kumaragiri, Ravi Teja as Kateya, Uma Devulapalli as the Queen, Snehalatha and Sumalatha as court dancers, Vijayalakshmi and Indira as sakhis, P M Sarma and Ch Balakrishna as male dancers, and Rama Rao, Bikshapathi, Neeraj, Chaitanya, Haleem, Pramod, Srilatha and Sweta as group dancers make up the rest of the cast.
The chief guest for the recital is Shiela Dixit, Chief Minister of Delhi. The lighting of the lamp will be by Dadasaheb Phalke and Padmabhushan awardee Dr Akkineni Nageshwar Rao, and the event will be presided over by Gnanpeeth and Padmabhushan awardee Dr C Narayana Reddy. The other specially invited guests are Minister for Major Irrigation Ponnala Laxmaiah, Minister for Culture Anam Ram Narayan Reddy, and Member of Parliament Girish Sanghi.
Trishna, a centre for Kuchipudi excellence, was started by Dr Alekhya Punjla with an initiative to train young, budding and upcoming Kuchipudi artistes. Alekhya needs no introduction - she is one of the foremost as well as top ranking exponents in both Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam. Apart from numerous awards, titles and praises bestowed upon her, she is a proud recipient of the prestigious Ugadi Visisht Puraskar and the Hamsa Award from the Government of Andhra Pradesh.
Alekhya learnt dance at a young age under the tutelage of late Dayal Sharan, and later continued under Dr Uma Rama Rao. She has performed at the highest level in India and abroad, including at all the prestigious dance festivals of the country like the Haridas Samaroh, Kalidas Samaroh, Kuchipudi Mahotsav, Kalakshetra, Siddendra Yogi, Nishagandhi, Khajuraho and Konark dance festivals. She choreographed and brought to life several dance ballets of Alamelu Manga, Gouri, Parvathi, Rukmini, Satyabhama, Thilla Kali, Mandakini Durga, Sashirekha, Andal, Draupadi and Radha.
Please contact Dr Alekhya Punjla at 92465-46543 for further details.