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Gopika Varma impresses with her Krishna-themed recital

Gopika Varma performing for Sri Krishna Utsavam 2023 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on Friday.
| Photo Credit: VEDHAN M

Dancers often choose Swati Tirunal’s popular kriti ‘Bhavayami raghuramam’, which describes significant episodes from the Ramayana, in their performances. But Mohiniyattam exponent Gopika Varma took up the composer’s ‘Bhavaye sri gopalam’, which highlights various facets of Krishna’s life, at her performance for Sri Krishna Utsavam held recently at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. The event was organised by  Vishnu Mohan Foundation and Gyana Advaitha Peetam.
Performing with the students of her school ‘Daasyam’, Gopika began with an invocatory song before moving to the main piece. The choreography captured the lyricism, and grace of this dance form. The interesting formations showed the effort and training that had gone into putting together this presentation.
The sequences — from Vasudeva taking Krishna out of the prison in torrential rain and the interaction between the venomous snake Kaliya and Krishna to animals birds and villagers facing the wrath of Indra’s anger before seeking protection under Govardhana mountain and to the Viswaroopam Darshanam on the battlefield — were depicted in detail. What made these scenes stand out were the dancers’ subtle expressions and absence melodrama.

Gopika Varma and students of her dance school Dasyam performing at Sri Krishna Utsavam 2023 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai.

Gopika Varma and students of her dance school Dasyam performing at Sri Krishna Utsavam 2023 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai.
| Photo Credit:

Gopika concluded the performance with a fine delineation of Adi Shankaracharya’s ‘Bhaja Govindam’. The maturity and experience of the dancer came through in the varied sancharis that she used to express the idea of birth, death and rebirth for the lines ‘Punarapi jananam punarapi maranam’. Moving beyond the mundane, she was able to communicate the deep philosophy in these lines with conviction.
Though the duration of the performance was short, it was put together in an aesthetic manner.

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