It's a commendable resolution that the state's Department of Culture has taken
to dedicate the last four days of every month, i.e. the 27th to the 30th, to the
performing arts, especially to bringing to the fore the not-so-famous/popular
artists of the state. This will be an excellent boost to artists who were finding
hardly any patronage. These programs at the Ravindra Bharathi will highlight folk,
classical and theater arts in a series. The very first venture was a great success,
and saw many chief guests and audiences appreciating the effort, as artists from
different regions of Andhra flocked with much enthusiasm.
Day 1, 27th Oct
The festival commenced on the 27th with light music - 'Lalitha Sangeetam' - staged
by Gangadhar from Chittoor and M.Govinda Swamy. And the music was indeed light,
fleeting and euphoric, and striking a chord of the rural landscape, of temple
bells, riverbeds and simple celebrations.
An invigorating "Veera Natyam" from the East Godavari district was staged by Vellaralapally
Chinta Nageswara Rao. This dance is one of the oldest art forms of Andhra, and
was practiced by the Veera Shaivaites who would dance in a frenzied manner to
invigorate the soldiers to fight against the enemy in a ruthless manner before
entering the battlefield. The dance form derived from the Rudra Tandava of the
Lord Shiva, and has hardly any performers left now. The few practicing artists
need great encouragement lest it should die soon.
Then followed a mono-rhythmic folk dance, "Tappetadugulu", which gradually seemed
to draw the audience into its recurring and entrancing tempo. Here a group of
folk artists wearing small dhotis and bells round their upper arms, thighs and
ankles dance in circles playing a rustic percussion. Sanyasi Rao and group from
Kilampudi staged this dance.
After these brief throbbing dances, Harikatha Bhagavatar Veeraghandham Venkata
Subha Rao staged a noble and traditional solo narrative performance. The maestro
choose to render the powerful and poetic tale of 'Maha Kavi Kalidasa'. The narrative
was embellished with Kalidasa's immortal poetry, apart from drawing on his life
Day 2, 28th Oct
Declaring pensions for aged artists from November 1st onwards, the second evening's
program on the 28th saw the chief guests, including Dr. C.Narayana Reddy and Boyana
Venkateswara Rao, Director, Cultural Department, debating having the Nandi Awards
in the field of classical dance too. The awards are currently given only for theater,
and dance has never been included. All those present agreed that dance, being
an element of theater, should come within the brackets of the Nandi Awards.
Kuchipudi dancer M Venkateswara Rao's disciples performed a brief recital in the
evening, with numbers like "Marakata Mani Maya Chela", set in the mode of Tarangam,
an expressional Annamacharya Keertana titled "Allaralu Kuriyaga", and a swift
Hindola Tillana. Vocalist Srivalli Sarma and a group of orchestra supported the
dancers from the wings.
Another young dancer, N V Kanaka Durga, followed with her Bharatanatyam recital
comprising numbers like 'Mahisasura Mardhini', 'Vinayaka Kutam' and also some
Annamacharya Keertanas. Basically a Kuchipudi dancer, Kanaka Durga could not perform
the pure and strict Bharatanatyam, and badly mixed up the both forms. Nirmala
Prabhakar and Sarada Bhaskar supported the artist on nattuvangam and vocal.
Day 3, 30th Oct
29th was the grand finale of the month-end programs, and they concluded
with a lot of talk on the theater activity in the state. Directed by Senagala
Kabir Das and scripted by Uma Maheswari Rao, the play titled "Baboi Pamu" was
humorous, and saw the actors thoroughly elated in enacting the comical roles.
Yet another play directed and scripted by K G Ram Prasad, titled "Dharmo Rakshati
Rakshaha", had a comtemplative theme having to do with an individual's culture