Meenakshi Kalyanam, a magnificent dance ballet by Kuchipudi danseuse Soujanya Srinivas (wife of filmmaker, writer Trivikram Srinivas) and her team, was hosted at Shilpakala Vedika, Hyderabad in collaboration with Haarika and Hassine Creations, Fortune Four Cinemas. Noted film star, Janasena party chief Pawan Kalyan, filmmaker Trivikram Srinivas, actor cum writer Tanikella Bharani, producers S Radha Krishna, Naga Vamsi, Mamidi Harikrishna (Director, Department of Language and Culture, Telangana), Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee Vasantha Lakshmi Narasimha Chari graced the event.
Scripted by Bhamidipally Narasimha Murthy (Bnim), the ballet was choreographed by noted dancer Pasumarthy Ramalinga Sastry, set to the music of DVS Sastry. The larger-than-life presentation brought the intriguing legend behind the matrimony of Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwar onto the stage. Soujanya Srinivas was elegance-personified with her abhinaya as Parvati and her incarnation as Meenakshi, staying true to her word of being born as the daughter of her devotee Vidyavati in her next birth.
The performance was a perfect melange of tradition and technique, enhanced by the innovative use of live music, props, costumes and special effects. Gopika Purnima and Pasumarthy Padma's enriching vocals set the tone perfectly for the ballet. Among the more gripping moments in the presentation revolved around the sequence where Shiva and Parvati dance in unison, before they take birth as Sundareshwar and Meenakshi.
The portions that bring to life the evolution of Meenakshi as a warrior and her subsequent marriage to Lord Sundareshwar are nothing short of a visual spectacle. The ballet also utilises the opportunity to depict the beauty of several folk traditions unique to Tamil Nadu, in the lead up to their alliance. The attention to detail while establishing the backdrop and ambience in the world of Meenakshi lends depth and grandeur to the presentation. It was indeed a divine sight to watch the climactic act of the priests worshipping Shiva and Parvati as their temple deities.
"I feel honoured to have watched Soujanya Srinivas' Meenakshi Kalyanam come to life on the stage. I convey my heartfelt respect to the writer Bhamidipally Narasimha Murthy and dancer Pasumarthy Ramalinga Sastry. It's the second time I'm watching a dance presentation choreographed by Pasumarthy garu (the earlier act was also performed by Sounjanya). This may be a venue where film functions are usually held but I was caught by surprise noticing the audience's response to the ballet. It's important to remember our roots, traditions and I congratulate the entire team for reminding us of our core. It felt like the Gods descended onto the earth with the performances," Pawan Kalyan said.
"I find the story of Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwar very symbolic. It's a visual representation of 'beauty lying in the eyes of the beholder'. If one can recognise the innate beauty of the other, life itself is a grand ceremony of sorts. But for the fact that it was my better half performing on the stage, I have watched Meenakshi Kalyanam like one among the audiences. Kuchipudi or any dance form is ultimately an art of storytelling. The technique in dance is not relevant to the audience and what matters is the experience, and Soujanya, her team have left us awestruck with their performance. That's why Kuchipudi is still alive today and will remain relevant for many more years to come. It's quite similar to what we do in films in front of a camera too - tell a story. Pasumarthy Ramalinga Sastry, beyond being a guru to my wife, is like family to us. What more can I ask for? An evening with the two most important people in my life - Pawan Kalyan, who sat beside me, and Sounjanya, on the stage," Trivikram mentioned.
"Soujanya Sreenivas (garu) and her team's memorable performance has cast a spell upon all of us this evening. It's pleasure to have Pawan Kalyan among us, who, right from Akkada Ammayi Ikkada Abbayi to Bheemla Nayak, has become a youth icon for the masses, carving his niche in films with his fine performances. Trivikram (garu) is a writer and a filmmaker, whose credentials are second to none. Pasumarthy Ramalinga Sastry's (garu) choreography, especially with his attempt to highlight culture, traditions specific to Tamil Nadu, deserves immense praise," Mamidi Harikrishna added.
"Over the years, I've been very worried about the sustenance of the Kuchipudi tradition and I wanted to do a ballet on Goddess Parvati or one of her incarnations. One day, when I was thinking of coming up with a presentation on Madurai Meenakshi, I happened to interact with Soujanya. She ensured me all the support I needed to bring this together, though COVID-19 halted our plans. It took a lot of time for Parvati to arrive on the stage after all. I thank Soujanya and all the dancers who enchanted us with Meenakshi Kalyanam," Pasumarthy Ramalinga Sastry stated.
Distinguished personalities including entrepreneurs Chukkapalli Suresh, K Satish Chandra Gupta were part of the event organised by Aninditha Media.