Chiranjeevi’s rare feat with Mani Sharma and his son Mahati Swara Sagar

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In what could be considered a rare feat, megastar Chiranjeevi could be working with two generations of technicians from the same family.

It is known that Mani Sharma is currently working on Chiranjeevi’s upcoming outing, Acharya. As per the latest reports, Mani Sharma’s son Mahati Swara Sagar could be working on one of Chiranjeevi’s upcoming projects, Bhola Shankar which will be directed by Meher Ramesh.

Apparently, the makers of Bhola Shankar have roped in Mahati Swara Sagar to compose the music for the film. It appears to be that Mani Sharma, and his son Mahati have bagged the opportunity to work with Chiranjeevi for two successive films.

Mahati impressed music lovers with his impressive albums for films like Chalo, and Bheeshma. He has scored a good audio album for Nithhin’s Maestro as well. The young musician has bagged the golden opportunity of working with Chiranjeevi so very early in his career and he will be looking to make full use of the same.

Watching Kalamandalam Gopi live again

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The veteran performed on stage after 18 months but without make-up and costume

When Kalamandalam Gopi appeared on the stage of the Sreebhadra auditorium in Thrissur after 18 months at home, there was huge excitement. The legendary Kathakali artiste, who hundreds throng to watch, went on to give a performance similar to a cholliyattam (enactment of excerpts without make-up and costume), and followed it up by staging select scenes from the play Kirmeeravadham, composed by Kottayathu Thampuran.

Poignant portrayals

Aptly titled ‘Bhavaprabhavam’ (splendour of expressions) Gopi presented emotionally charged scenes from various Kathakali plays beginning with ‘Ajithahare’, the famous padam of Kuchela addressing Krishna from Kuchelavrutham (Story of Kuchela). Although the Sastras do not list bhakti (devotion) as a rasa, it does enjoy a certain space in Kathakali plays. Gopi’s expressive face conveyed in full measure the import of the lines describing Krishna as one worshipped by Brahma and other Devas and as the charioteer of Arjuna.

He later switched to Karna’s soliloquy from the relatively new Kathakali play Karnasapadham (Karna’s Pledge). Immediately preceding the Kurukshetra battle, sitting on the banks of the Ganga, Karna asks himself who he is. He wonders whether Radha and Adhiratha are his real parents. As one who has dexterously enacted the role several times, Gopi once again made the audience empathise with Karna’s emotional turmoil.

The actor then moved on to two non-textual slokas (couplets); one detailing the beauty of Damayanti by King Nala in Nalacharitam Day II and the other a description of sights in the hermitage of the sage Sukra by Kacha in the play Kachadevayani. In the former, Gopi depicted with wisely deployed histrionics how Brahma created Damayanti by appropriating the most beautiful components from multiple sources to challenge the moon’s luminosity.

The second piece was almost an adaptation of the Ashramavarnana (description of a hermitage) from the Koodiyattam play Subhadradhananjayam by King Kulaskehara. Here the actor as Kacha, the son of Brihaspati, the guru of the Devas, enters Sukra’s hermitage and is wonderstruck by the incredible sights: moths falling into the wildfire and rising up unscathed, camaraderie between an elephant and a lion, a panther and a deer, and a mongoose and a cobra. Gopi’s upaangaabhinaya (eyes, eyebrows, cheeks and lips) vividly illuminated these images.

Gopi’s minimal movements and immaculate expressions made the last two pieces from Nalacharitam Day III unforgettable. These were ‘Vijane bata mahati’ depicting Bahuka’s agony over separation from his consort, Damayanti, who he had abandoned in the forest, and ‘Marimaankanni’, dealing with his nerve-racking reaction to the news of his wife getting married again. However, in the absence of aharya (facial make-up, costume, ornaments and headgear), Gopi felt a conspicuous void in his performance.

Singers Kottakkal Madhu, Kalamandalam Hareesh and Vishwas provided support to the actors, while Kalamandalam Krishnadas on the chenda and Kalamandalam Raj Narayanan on the maddalam empowered the visuals with powerful and soft strokes.

The author is a critic and connoisseur of traditional art forms of Kerala.

Kalyaan Dhev’s ‘Kinnerasani’ teaser crosses 2 million views on YouTube

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The teaser of Kalyaan Dhev and Ann Sheetal’s ’ Kinnerasani ’ is setting its own record of sorts. Released on August 27, the film’s teaser has already garnered over two million views on the video-sharing platform. The video has received an unparalleled response of million hits in less than 24 hours since its launch on YouTube and is rapidly moving towards shattering all records.The teaser drew 19k likes on YouTube, and a majority of online reactions have been positive too. The reason behind the teaser’s fantastic appeal is because it has lived up to the expectations of the film buffs. It is not just loved by the fans but has gathered praises from bigwigs of the industry as well. The teaser assures that the film will be high on thrills and suspense. Along with Mahati Swara Sagar ’s mysterious and creepy background score, ‘Kinnerasani’ hints at a dramatic thriller where a series of suspicious events Ram Talluri is bankrolling the film under his home banner SRT Entertainments in association with Shubham Entertainments. The film is directed by Ramana Teja of ‘Aswathama’ fame. Saitej Desharaj penned the story for the film. Mahati Swara Sagar has scored the music for the film, while Dinesh K Babu has taken charge of cinematography. Anwar Ali is in charge of editing.