In an age when the Himalayas have become a maze in which people get lost never
to be found again, leaving behind all the love they can ever get in their lives,
leave it to the arts to talk of times when getting lost here could mean finding
the love of one's life, and explore more intriguing myths. Danseuse Swathy Somanath
and her disciples of Nrithya Bharathi staged a romantic myth, tracing the origin
of the first 'Manuvu'. Titled "Varudhini Pravarakhya", this Kuchipudi recital
explored the range of emotions that constitute love and deception. Chaitanya Arts
Theater presented this drama of love, lust and betrayal.
Here is a graceful, celestial damsel, Varudhini, who wanders in the Himalayan mountains and gets transported into its beautiful streams, trees and flora and fauna. And in an idealistic mood, she faces her dream lover, Pravarakhya, and expresses her desire to unite with him. Swathy, as the heroine Varudhini, personifies a crestfallen maiden when Pravarakhya (donned by a tall dancer, Aparna) rejects her proposal, for he remains devoted to his wife, and apparently returns to her from his expedition in the Himalayas. Before Varudhini recoils into her sorrow, Pravarakhya appears again and surprisingly expresses her love for her.
However, this turns out to an elaborate deception on the part of the man, as he
is a Gandharva (a semi-celestial being who desires her and fulfills his lust),
in the guise of Pravarakhya, but then she is already bearing his child, the first
'Manuvu'. Many more dancers, like Sushma (as Pravarakhya's wife), Suyodhan (as
the Gandharva) and Karthik (as the sage in the Himalayas), apart from a host of
supporting dancers, participated in this recital. The theme had excerpts and poetic
scenes from the 'Manu Charitram', and was scripted by Acharya Tirumala, with interesting
and poignant dialogues between the hero and the heroine.
Musical support from the wings came from Nattuvanar Gopala Krishna, vocalists
Kanna Rao, Sweta and Saujanya, percussionist Sridharachari, violinist Ashok and