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Fable of Ahalya and Gautam Rishi showcased through dance

5/31/2018

Chronicle Reporter, Bhopal, The legendary story of Sage Gautam and his wife Ahalya was showcased by Sapna Rajendra and her troupe through an emotional Mohiniattam recital. The dancers brought alive a fable from the epic Ramayana. The programme was held under the Uttaradhikar series of Tribal Museum in the city. The female characters of our mythology are often the choicest themes for an artiste to interpret from a 21st Century point of view. So it has been with Ahalya, the wife of Rishi Gautama. Ahalya has elicited lot of interest to explore her character and present it, each time with a fresh perspective. Mohiniattam dancer Sapna’s Ahalya was unique in more than one sense — unlike others, it does not take recourse to drama to take the story forward; she used only monologue as a narrative technique and that too very briefly. The dancer took interpretation of Rabindranath Tagore of Panchkanya and explored this complex personality called Ahalya within her dance genre. The end result was a crisp presentation very convincing in terms of exposition, brilliant in terms of dance and impressive in terms of narrative flow. ‘A-halya’ in Tagore’s terms was “a ground unploughed”. It needed rain to cause fertility. The known facts of this mythology are that Ahalya was Lord Brahma’s choicest creation adorned with beauty, brains and breed. She was gifted to sage Gautama who eventually married her despite disparity in age. A dutiful wife that she was, nevertheless, she falls a prey to the wily Indra, thereby incurring her husband’s wrath that curses her to turn into a stone till Lord Rama accidentally redeems her. Besides presenting the popular fable of Ahalya and Gautam Rishi, the group also performed Saraswati Stuti and Shalabhanjika. The group mesmerised the audience with their delicate movements and sublime portrayal of the anguish Ahalya went through on being misunderstood. The evening that kick started with a semi-classical song recital by Balwant Puranik and his group, who presented songs like Kajiri Ghar Aayi Ho Kali Badariya, Raadhe Bin Laage Na More Jiya, Savan Ki Rity Aayi Sakhi Re Sajan Ghar Nahi Aaye.

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