Content : Mohiniyattam performance with English subtitles
Artiste : Dr. Neena Prasad
Language : Subtitled in English
Format : DVD
Duration : 55 mins
1. Cholkettu 2. Pada varnam 3. Thillana 4. Ashtapadi The dancer invokes the blessings of Lord Ganesha in Cholkettu, which is traditionally performed as the first item in Mohiniyattam. Cholkettu gives the dancer ample scope for the swaying movements that is typical to Laasya the predominant emotion in Mohiniyattam. In Pada varnam the dancer depicts the grief of separation that torments the Nayika (heroine). Thillana is performed as the finale in a dance recital. Thillana extols happiness, joy and ecstasy. The dancer depicts the anguish of the lovelorn Radha in Ashtapadi, a part of Jayadeva’s Geetha Govinda. With her graceful and sensuous movements, the performer in Dr. Neena has done justice to Mohiniyattam.
Mohiniyattam, the female classical solo dance of Kerala, is the dance of the Mohini, the celestial enchantress of Hindu mythology. The dance is based on Hastha Lakshana Deepika, the treatise on hand gestures, and its lyrics are in Manipravala, which is a mixture of Sanskrit and Malayalam languages. Mohiniyattam follows the Sopana style of music, the traditional music used in the temples of Kerala and the dance usually deals with the theme of love and devotion. The slow, swaying movements of Mohiniyattam along with subtle facial expressions, gives it an identity different from that of the other classical dance forms of India. The predominant emotive element of this dance is laasya or sensuality.
Once performed only in temple premises, Mohiniyattam was made popular by the erstwhile king of Travancore, Swathi Thirunal. He patronized the dance to the extent of giving it a typical Kerala touch. Irayimman Thampi, the court musician of Swathi Thirunal, and Kuttikunju Thankachi are the others who contributed to the growth of Mohiniyattam. After the period of Swathi Thirunal, the popularity of Mohiniyattam declined. Later, during the time of the great Malayalam poet Vallathol Narayana Menon, Mohiniyattam underwent a revival and regained its eminence as an important classical dance form of Kerala.
Dr. Neena Prasad
Dr. Neena Prasad represents the genre of the young and innovative class of Indian dancers. She learned Mohiniyattam from renowned teachers viz. Kalamandalam Sugandhi and Kalamandalam Kshemavathy. Apart from Mohiniyattam, Dr. Neena Prasad is also a trained performer of Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam and Kathakali.
Dr. Neena Prasad was awarded a PhD in dance from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata for her research on the various manifestations of laasya (sensuality) and tandava (the frantic and violent dance of Lord Shiva) in South Indian classical dance. She also received the junior fellowship from the Dept. of Culture, Govt. of India for her research works in Mohiniyattam. The Bharatanjali Academy of Indian Dances (BAID) instituted by her conducts classes on different Indian dance forms.