The Ultimate Path

The Ultimate Path

The dancing and singing duo, Anupama Kylash and Anasuya Murthy led the all too willing audience through the path of devotion as they told the story of Bhakti movement

The dancing and singing duo, Anupama Kylash and Anasuya Murthy led the all too willing audience through the path of devotion as they told the story of Bhakti movement

“Bhakti Margam” (jointly presented by Anubhav and Natyaswara) was a distinctive journey with poetic narration, music and dance that kept the viewers interestingly engaged for more than an hour. The cozy amphitheatre at Saptaparni in Hyderabad came alive with the devotional music of the Bhakti poets starting from the 10th century, covering 19 poets of the Bhakti cult, in different Indian languages which proved to be a true national integration. A unique concept well conceived and executed with excellent co-ordination between dialogue, music and dance, the pleasing costumes and jewellery further added to the presentation. The heavy jhumkas, a standard feature in most of the dancers’ “ahaarya” found a pleasant replacement in the ornate “Chaandbaalis”, which are in vogue now.

Friends for the last 26 years, Anupama and Anasuya share an enviable rapport both on and off stage. Anasuya’s effortless singing complemented Anupama’s subtle abhinaya and together they told the story of the Bhakti movement. The thread that ran through all the segments, joining at every conclusion and yet giving way to a new slice was the famous Bhajagovendam song of Adi Sankaracharya. This is where the audience connected more closely with the performers and started humming the familiar tune, as they joyfully joined the singers.

Bhakti Margam began with a set of five verses called “Kurangi Panchakam”, which described the main principles of Bhakti or devotion through the Sharanagati concept, which warrants an absolute surrender of the self and selflessness. It is illustrated by the story of a doe that strays into a forest and pleads with the hunter to spare her life, not for herself, but for her young who totally depend on her for their survival. It was reiterated with one more illustration, the Gajendra Moksham (taken from the Bhagavatha Purana), where the blind faith and complete surrender to lord Vishnu saves the elephant king, Gajendra.

Thanks to the Bhakti poets, who emerged from all sections of the society, took the essence of Vedas, Puranas, and other scriptures (that were in Sanskrit and inaccessible to the common man), composed songs in a simple language and spread the message of love and devotion in the masses. Shunning ritualistic and elaborate worship, they preached equality of all mankind erasing caste, creed and religion.

The seven segments dealt with the pioneering poets of the Bhakti movement like Jayadeva in the East and Alwars from the South who sang in praise of Lord Vishnu. Rama devotees like Tulsidas and Bhadrachala Ramdas featured along with the Shaiva devotional poets like Vidyapati and Akka Mahadevi. Mirabai, Narayana Theertha and Annamacharya whose very existence was Krishna/ Vishnu were exemplified through their compositions. The philosophical content of Sadasiva Brahmendra, Purandara Dasa, Eknath and Namdev were well brought out. Kabir, Rahim and Raskhan( a muslim pathaan from Delhi, who was a Krishna devotee) were all represented through their works.

Using a blend of Carnatic and Hindustani genres while choosing apt ragas to convey the mood, the twosome’s well composed music was certainly the highlight of the whole presentation. The dance styles too alternated between Kuchipudi and Vilasini Natyam, sustaining the thread of thought, which is considered to be more essential than the technical aspect of the dance forms or their performance. Bhakti Margam was ably supported by a live orchestra comprising Sai kumar (violin), Sreedharacharya (mridangam) and Murali (flute).

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