REVIEWS

REVIEWS

The Hindu, 4 April, 2014 Jubiliant harvest of laya, sur and talent
“Amrita Lahiri’s Kuchipudi, under Sharmila Biswas’s mentoring with her guru Mosalikanti providing nattuvangam and indirectly ensuring retention of the Kuchipudi sensitivity in the student’s praiseworthy endeavour, ushered in a quality of delightful freshness. “Moorchana”, a story from the oral tradition of Odisha’s khol players, with Sanskrit text based on translations of the original Odia, delineated a narrative on the inner spirit of natya amalgamating geeta, vadya and nritya. Brahma utters the all-pervading syllable Om” whose spirit floating in search of an abode found it in Apsara Rambha’s swaras, the sapta swara mridangam, in Mohini’s delightful dance flitting across the skies after successfully distributing the nectar of immortality, and in the moksha of Krishna’s Raas with the gopis. Today it may reside in the mother’s lullaby or boatman’s song, or occasionally, dancing feet. Innovatively translated to Kuchipudi’s graceful agility with twinkling rhythm (each sequence in a different cycle) and vibrantly emotive, Amrita’s dance had its fine take-off point in Sudha Raghuraman’s ragamalika music in Arabhi, Varali (very suggestive and beguiling in Rambha’s stray notes) Kalyani, Mohanam, Shubhapantuvarali and Brindavani Saranga (the last as a tillana). Mosalikanti’s sur-ful nattuvangam, and Sudha’s singing added impact.”

-Leela Venkataraman

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-fridayreview/jubilant-harvest-of-laya-sur-and-talent/article5868654.ece

The Pioneer, 27 March 2014 'Bond with beats and melody'
“The Mumbai-based Kuchipudi danseuse, Amrita Lahiri, took stage first, with her invocation: Jayamu jayamu…, composed by Vempati Chinna Satyam for his dance-drama Shakuntalam. Born in 1980 and hugely talented, Amrita then launched her major item Murchchana (Spirit of Music), as mentored by the senior dance-guru Sharmila Biswas. With a low podium placed strategically on front-stage, Amrita both spoke and danced in a seamless manner. Murchchana – as the soul behind geeta-vadya-nritya troika – was brought alive with narratives on: Rambha’s celestial dance for which Brahma created mridanga as percussion, seductive dance of Vishnuu as Mohini to lure the demons away from nectar, and gopi Tungavadya’s coming alive after her fatal punishment for Krishna’s amour.”

-Utpal Banerjee

http://www.dailypioneer.com/vivacity/bond-with-beats-and-melody.html

The Hindu, 25 October 2013 'Classical evenings in Singapore'

•”The last and final performance was intriguing to begin with. How could Tagore’s immortal Chitrangadha be performed in the Kuchipudi style? And yet it was done, and how! The event, supported by the Tagore Society, Singapore, saw a wonderful performance by well known dancer Amrita Lahiri. Interspersed with monologues and shortened to suit the time frame, its music remained true to Tagore throughout. The style of dance alone was Kuchipudi and yet it all gelled perfectly. It was as much a tribute to the skill of the dancer/choreographer as it was to Tagore.”
http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/classical-evenings-in-singapore/article5268257.ece

Narthaki.com, 15 October 2013


“With an attractive stage presence, young and sprightly Amrita succeeds in highlighting the Vempati bani admirably with quicksilver movements and elegant postures. She strives to imbibe the spirit of the dance form that challenges her to rise to great artistic heights. With command over technique, Amrita has carved a niche for herself as a brilliant Kuchipudi exponent. Her interpretation of Chitrangada in a solo narrative form was further embellished with brevity and selection of appropriate verses which had a natural flow along with both Bengali and English prose passages. The tillana with ‘Esho Shyamalo sundaro’ in Desh raga concluded her solo rendering.”

The Hindu, 1 February 2013 ‘Of postures and rhythm’

• If the slight, slim figure of Amrita Lahiri presenting Kuchipudi managed to hold audience attention in this crowded setting, it derived from proficient dancing and excellently balanced wing support with Guru Mosalikanti conducting in musical and clear-toned nattuvangam and Srikant’s mellifluous singing with mridangam (Ramakrishna Babu) and flute (Muttu Kumar) in harmony.

Nartanam Journal, April- June 2012
“One of the more impressive Chitrangada versions was in Kuchipudi form and choreographed by Amrita Lahiri, whose training has been under Vempati Chinna Satyam, Swapnasundari, and later, Jaikishore Mosalikanti. Presented for the Rabindra Nrityanjali by Impresario India, which made its annual dance choreography festival entirely based on Tagore’s work, this was the best work of the entire festival Amrita’s work eschewed heroics and overt histrionics for an internalized, simple, excellently rehearsed neatness. Music was also very well organized”
Mumbai Mirror, 12 January 2012- 'Steps to a Great Kuchipudi recital
“one notices a certain aesthetic control being exercised over them (movements) , thanks perhaps to the training she has received in bharatanatyam from Leela Samson. Fortunately, the control does no harm to Lahiri’s spontaneity, expressed in her darting eyes and lively smile. All the items that she danced, choreographed by her present guru Jaikishore Mosalikati, combined complex footwork, clean lines, an unflagging pace and infinite grace. Her leaps and jumps were executed with the lightness of a gazelle; and one of the more awesome moments in the choreography was when the movement of her body exactly matched the meend of the bol dheem”. …Amrita Lahiri’s performance was refreshing and energising, and left us asking for more. Let’s hope there will be more.”

-Shanta Gokhale

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/columns/columnists/shanta-gokhale/Steps-to-a-great-kuchipudi-recital/articleshow/16196706.cms

Narthaki.com, 11 January 2012 'A warm program on a cold evening
“The evening started with a sloka in praise of Goddess Saraswati in evocative Valaji followed by an invocatory obeisance to Her. The kriti was Dikshitar’s “Sri Saraswati” in Arabhi set to Rupakam. The dancer portrayed the noble features of the goddess and her skill in veena playing. It was followed by the traditional Tarangam. Amrita gave a concise introduction to every item of the evening with hasta mudras and movements of the arms that enabled the audience understand the subsequent dance. She said that Tarangams were generally from Narayana Tirtha’s Krishna Leela Tarangini but she was going to present one on goddess Durga. She narrated the story of Durga vanquishing the demon Mahisha in a battle. Before Tarangam proper she danced portraying the birth of Durga and her battle. The sancharis effectively conveyed the story. “Jaya Jaya Durge” was in Ragamalikai set to adi tala. Before stepping on the brass plate she gave evidence of her technical virtuosity by dancing with interlocked toes and on the big toe. The audience could follow this difficult footwork easily as she had explained it earlier. Devatahasta mudras to depict Vishnu, Siva and Brahma coming together to create Durga, the Ananthasayana of Vishnu and others were all done in a perfect fashion, as prescribed in the sastras. The battle scene was brief but arrested the attention of the audience. The fairly long dancing on the brass plate and the sancharis were artistically performed with technical finesse. There were occasional sculpturesque poses. They were not in the original Kuchipudi style but have now become a part of it thanks to the influence of BN. Such eclectic approach is welcome as it enhances the interest of the rasikas.The recital of jatis by the nattuvanar was vibrant. She danced to the repeat performance of the jatis on the mridangam after they had been recited by the nattuvanar. The program was finished with a Tillana in Behag (Adi). The standard neck, shoulder and eye movements were executed well with a smattering of stylish talukkus. Tillana is basically a BN item but, over the years, it has come to be incorporated in Kuchipudi. Hence it was natural to follow the former’s techniques. Otherwise Amrita’s Kuchipudi idiom did not show any mix of BN despite her training in both the art forms. Jarus and muzhu mandis were effortlessly executed. The utplavanas were subdued. Every one of the three items was finished in a dramatic pose as the punch line. Amrita has an attractive stage presence and a winning smile that endear her to the audience. The shimmering costume was imaginative and contributed to the total impact of the dance.”

-A Seshan

http://www.narthaki.com/info/rev12/rev1160.html

A Step Forward’
Article on Amrita’s work at NCPA by Devina Dutt- http://www.thehindu.com/features/magazine/a-step-forward/article4927220.ece

‘…The fact that this change has been achieved in a city whose dominant rasas are business and Bollywood is significant. It all began in 2010 when Kuchipudi dancer and head of NCPAs newly formed dance department, Amrita Lahiri and her team began to organise a steady stream of performances and interactions. The number of performances went up from one or two each month to about 5 and even 7 some months over the next two years. The programming aimed for a mix of styles and levels with young as well as established dancers. There was a deliberate attempt to offer some programmes that would please a connoisseur and some that would specifically pull in new audiences. “The strategy was simple – present only the highest quality, and publicise it widely. The aim was simply to present high-quality art – regardless of classical, contemporary, Indian or international”, says Lahiri.
There were lecture demonstrations with gurus, dance residencies, master classes and even month long yoga and Kalaripayettu sessions. Lecture demonstrations for school children and the free monthly Umang series showing upcoming dancers from around the country were specially effective.

How did she know there was an audience out there? “I knew simply the power of the dance that we were presenting. I knew that Bombay has a taste for unusual and intelligent performances, and that any one who gives high-quality dance a chance, can’t resist its appeal!”, says Lahiri who has since left the NCPA.