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Story of the antagonist

Story of the antagonist
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Pratidwandi means the Antagonist Deepanjali presented an unusual rendering of the Ramayana from the angle of the characters cast as villains in the...

" Pratidwandi " means - the Antagonist. ‘Deepanjali’ presented an unusual rendering of the Ramayana from the angle of the characters cast as villains in the Epic, who are foils to the perfect epitome of the God King Rama. We get a chance to see and feel the thoughts, ambitions and stories of these opponents of the ideals represented in mythology and also appreciate the mixture of good and evil present in all human beings out of which, one or the other dominates.

During the performance held at Ravindra Bharathi, the stellar cast of senior artistes held the audience spellbound by their virtuoso performances. A sutradhar, the popular tele and cinema artiste Jhansi Laxmi held the narrative together. Her vivid and vibrant script penned by Uttej contained the repeated utterance that "Moha" or delusion took hold of the most eminent persons resulting in their ruin and no one was immune to the cruel nemesis of fate brought upon those who committed evil deeds. The lyrics were adapted from various languages to suit the subject and the character including from Ram Charit Manas of Tulsidas.

Uma Dogra a masterly exponent of Kathak and student of the renowned Pt.Durgalal gave an outstanding depiction of the maid Manthara who on hearing about that the Coronation of Lord Rama as decided by the aged King Dasaratha, takes it upon herself to warp Queen Kaikeyi’s thoughts and cause a terrible rift in the Royal Family of Ayodhya which would lead inexorably into the whole tragic denouement of Sita's abduction by Ravana followed by the destruction of Lanka. Manthara's privileged position as the favourite maid leads her, unwittingly, because of her love of Kaikeyi, into being the root cause of the epic story. The abhinaya of the artiste excelled in bringing out the physical ugliness and crooked nature of old Manthara. The music was by Alap Desai.

Deepika Reddy shone on stage in Kuchipudi majestically as the beautiful Kaikeyi, the favourite younger Queen of the aged Dasaratha. Her fondness for Rama is destroyed by Manthara and transmuted into a hateful jealousy. The Queen who had obtained boons from Dasaratha when she had saved him in a long ago battle is induced into asking for the banishment of Rama. The death of Dasaratha and the anger of Bharatha brings her to repentance as she was but a pawn in the fateful unfolding drama of the Saga. Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry's script was set to melodious music by DSV Sastry.

Surpanaka was done in Mohiniyattam by Gopika Varma who painted an enthralling picture in dance of Surpanaka, her infatuation with Rama; his suggestion that Lakshmana would be a better choice, who in turn refuses her. The demonic nature of the rakshasi resurfaces from her put-on magical beauty and results in her mutilation by Lakshmana when she tries to attack Sita in a fit of envious rage. Wailing and weeping, Surpanaka seeks vengeful consolation from her brother the King of Lanka, Ravana.

Bharatanatyam was the dance form in which was portrayed a terrifying Ravana in a visually striking costume by Deepak Mazumdar to music by Rajkumar Bharathi vocalised by Srikanth. The majestic demeanour of the King and his immense devotion were all brought to naught by tyrannical actions of oppressing others and his tragic downfall were portrayed bringing the performance to a climactic end.

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