Madhavi's Magic, Arushi's Ardour
The very air had a mysterious excitement about it on the second evening of the Bengal Classical Music Festival 2016. Vidushi Madhavi Mudgal's first performance at the grand festival has been anticipated for long.
After the formal introductions, the tunes of Manikuntala Bhowmick and Kshtiprakash Mohapatra (on vocal), Jitendrakumar Swain (pakhawaj), Yar Mohammad (sitar) and Srinivas Satapathe (flute) began swirling through the crisp, cold air. And then upon entrance, Madhavi's grace warmed up from the inside out. Beginning with a solo piece Shloka in praise of Nataraj, she embodied the softness of Odissi, combining it with elaborate expressions.
After the audience was left awestruck by her elegance, the stage was then graced by her niece Arushi Mudgal. Madhavi's niece and prime disciple took control of the audience as the she hypnotised with precise and intricate moves and sensual expressions. Arushi showed the importance of pursuing an art form with dedication and passion, as she performed her piece “Alhat”.
The third piece was another solo by Madhavi, an Ashtapadi, which focused mostly on 'abhinaya'. Madhavi chose to tell the story of Radha and Krishna, where a 'sakhi' (friend) of Radha's reunites the lovers. Even though Sakhi, Radha and Krishna were all played by her alone, her expressions were distinguished in one character from the other. The storytelling prowess of Odissi was evident in this piece, and Madhavi's abilities made the complexities of the story comprehensible for the Bengali audience.
Arushi then returned to the stage where she charmed with her sweet yet sultry moves to a Rabindra Sangeet. Clad in the colours of Spring, Arushi performed an Odissi piece to the song “Hemonte Kon Boshonteri Bani”.
The final piece was a Bhairavi Pallavi, in the form of a jugalbandi between Guru and Shishya. The contrast and blend between Madhavi's experienced footwork and Arushi's young, bold expressiveness gave the audience a new kind of thrill. While they complimented each other in every way, their differences and similarities were both celebrated in this piece.
Throughout the entire performance consisting five pieces, Madhavi and Arushi achieved one thing: they allowed the audience to experience how it feels to dance just through the mere act of watching. The passion, the strength, the grace and the love for the art were evident in both faces and that was enough to leave the audience in a high.