Visakhapatnam July 10
WHEN adjectives become superfluous, it is the case to acknowledge excellence. So is the enactment of Malayali play Karnabharam at Kalabharati. artists of Lokadharmi, Kochi staged it as a grand finale to the five-day Dakshin Natakotsav.
The play opened with traditional naandi (introduction), which presented a brief intro about the original work in Sanskrit by Bhasa against the backdrop of romantic overtures of Sun god and Kunthi. Then unfolded a visual treat in all its aesthetic richness.
Pride, prejudice, honour, humiliation, valour, treachery, triumph and defeat – whole range of human emotions find abiding expression in mythology. Dealing with every shade of these emotions, the play in the time and space construct from the 16th day in the epic war at Kurukshetra, when, Karna, piloted by king Salya, unveiled a theatrical extravaganza.
As Salya berates Karna’s matchless military prowess at every turn, scene after scene unfold different tragic shades in his life. His tutelage under Parasurama, who teaches him archery on mistaken identity and curses it to be powerless in war.
Indra taking away his natural armour and ear studs in disguise of a Brahmin to help Arjun, were presented with extraordinary precision in movements and coordination in troupe formations besides expressional élan.
With a pervasive presence of poignancy in narration, the play essayed to bring out Karna’s emotional turmoil about his birth. faced with adulation and ridicule from different strata as dauntless warrior on one hand and man of low calling on the other, identity crisis haunts him all through.
In the portrayal of eponymous role, VR Selvaraj’s delineation of emotional landscape of Karna and that of Kunthi by Jyothi Madan stood out for its histrionic prowess. Rich stage props,traditional martial art group formations in depiction of war scenes besides a sprinkle of Kathakali movements enhanced its dramatic appeal in ample measure.
While a team of 12 artists donned their roles with aplomb, Ajaya Kumar Tiruvankulam, Anup S Kalarikal, Sanosh Paluruti, and Adarsh Chandanavattam lend excellent technical support.
Note: This is the report reproduced from The New Indian Express, / Saturday, July 11, 2009 / Visakhapatnam. The photograph is by Mahesh, Bangaluru.