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Prabhath Kalavidaru Perform in Atlanta


Nrupatunga Kannada Koota (NKK) treated Kannada audience in Atlanta to a complete theatrical experience by the popular Prabhath Kalavidaru this September 26th at the Southern Polytechnic Theatre. 

The program included a string of back to back Indian ballets in Kannada and Sanskrit language based on mythology and history. “Mahishaasura Mardini", the ancient Hindu story depicting battle between 'Mahishaasura', the egotistical male demon and 'Shakthi', female manifestation of pure strength, kick started the event with sheer exuberance of talent. Mahishaasura, intoxicated by his boon of indestructibility by any masculine being from Lord Brahma threatens the rule of Devendra,Lord of Heaven. Devendra seeks refuge in Lord Vishnu who unleashes ‘Shakti’ (Pure Strength) through the incarnation of Chamundeshwari, a beautiful Goddess. Mahishaasura, smitten by Goddess Chamundeshwari proposes to marry her. Goddess Chamundeshwari unleashes her wrath on Mahishaasura and becomes renowned as “Mahishaasura Mardini” (The Destroyer of Mahishaasura). The next dance "Dashavatara", presented the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu -Matsya, Kurma, Varaaha, Narasimha, Vaamana, Parashurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki. "Panchavati", a piece from the epic Ramayana was next. The actors enacted the scenes of Rama, Lakshmana and Seetha staying in Panchavati to complete their 14 year exile. Surpanakha, Ravan's sister returns to her brother after a failed attempt to entice Rama and Lakshmana. An annoyed Ravana orders Maricha a demon to transform to a golden deer and pass by Seeta. Seeta persuades Rama to get her the deer. Rama leaves Lakshmana in charge of Seeta and follows the deer. He hits deer with his arrow. Before breathing its last breath the deer which is actually Maricha calls out for Lakshmana and Seeta imitating the voice of Rama. A horrified Seeta asks Lakshmana to look for his brother. Laksmana draws three lines with his arrow in front of their hut and asks Seeta not to cross the lines for her safety. After Lakshmana leaves, Ravana dressed as a Sadhu Brahmin asks for food. When Seetha offers him food, he insists that she cross the line drawn by Lakshmana. And when she does, Ravana reveals his true identity and abducts Seeta. Jatayu an eagle tries to protect her but gets killed by Ravana.

"Shilaabaalikas of Belur", the famous bracket figures of beautiful dancers at Belur temple came alive next. Shantala, the queen of King Visnuvardhana, has the temples built at her behest, and personally poses for the sculptors. Upon completion of the statues, queen dances with great joy. Overcome by sheer exertion, she sleeps and dreams of the statues coming to life and dancing. "Bharatha - Bahubali", a scene from Adi Purana, an epic by Adikavi Pampa, the first Kannada poet was the final offering of the evening. The ballet presented the fight between two mighty brothers, Bharatha and Bahubali, for the sake of the kingdom. As the two armies stand ready to begin the war, Bahubali the younger brother appeals to Bharata to let go of the needless bloodshed. Instead he suggests the two individuals settle to fight one on one. The brothers face off at various Yuddhas or warfare - Dristhi Yuddha, the fight of staring each other down; Jala Yuddha, fighting in water; lastly Malla Yuddha, a wrestling bout. Bahubali overpoweres Bharatha in all the three rounds. While Bharatha faces humiliation, Bahubali is disillusioned with the ways of the world and leaves to the forest where he stands in total meditation. Shravanabelagola, one of the most celebrated Jain centres in Karnataka and there stands Bahubali, the serene Gommateshwara.

"Prabhat is a team of talented and well trained dancers, actors, singers, choreographers and technicians. Music for all our creations are composed by renowned stalwarts and dances have been personally choreographed by reputed dance gurus. We pay special attention to research our material for ballets such as Karnataka Vaibhava and most of our other pieces to provide authentic and enriching experience for the audience" says Venkateshachar, son of Gopinath Dasa, one of the four sibling-founders. The brothers Gopinath Dasa, Karigiri Dasa, Jaisimha Dasa, and Dwarakanat began their early career in Tumkur before moving on to Bangalore in the '30s. Prabath team has created over 20 ballets, notably Mohini Bhasmasura, Karnataka Vaibhava, Kindara Jogi, Rama Pratiksha, and Punyakoti. Cinderella, easily its most popular ballet has been performed more than a thousand times. Other than Kannada, Prabhat team also performs in Hindi, English, Tamil, Telagu and Sanskrit. Some of the well-known artists of Kannada cinema such as C. R. Simha, Srinath, Manjula and Lokesh started their careers with Prabhat. The troupe also performed at New Jersey, DC and Detroit during this visit, and was one of their memorable tours, Venkateshachar added as his 5 year old granddaughter Arunima performed on stage at the AKKA conference this year. The Prabhat team visiting Atlanta included his family Mrs. Sudha, son Harish, daughter Hema Panchamukhi, grand daughter Arunima Panchamukhi, Varsha Prakash, Pavithra Nagaraj, Nutan Vijaya Kumar, Ravi Prakash, Janardhana Mariayappa, Yamuna Gowda and Balasubramanya Bangalore. Some local artists were also included in the performance.

True to their reputation, the Prabath team presented a truly theatrical extravaganza, complete with vivacious visuals and sound effects. NKK presented gifts to the performers. Current NKK president Pradeep Vittalmurthy and Dr. Ramaswamy extended a vote of thanks for gracing Atlanta with the "Prabhat" experience. Venkateshachar thanked NKK on behalf of Prabhat Kalavidaru for providing the opportunity. A truly memorable evening by NKK sent home the audiences happily reminiscing their favorite Prabhat ballet from the evening and from their childhood, yes some of the memories date decades back.

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