One of the most enthralling moments of my life was to see the noted Bharatnatyam danseuse Priyadarshini Govind perform so naturally to vatsalya rasa, playing mother kaushalya on Tulsidas’s “Thumak Chalt Ram Chandra”. This was one of the best rendition of the piece I have seen.
Her traditional varnam was based on Natraja Vandanam in which she performed portraying Goddess Parvati appeasing her lord and her love, Lord Shiva. She longs to meet him and unite with him in love. Shiv is Moksha for her. So beautiful was the performance that the danseuse herself was in a trance like state transporting the audience to a surreal state.
She is simply fabulous while perofming abhinaya. In another piece based on the marathi poetry “Rusli Radha Rusla Madhav Rusle Gokil sare” Her precision in footwork and poise in the first piece were as striking as her abhinaya, or dramatizations, in the Marathi composition, which was based on an encounter between Radha and Krishna. The piece shows Radha’s anger at finding her lover, Krishna, in the company of other women — and his attempts to reach out and pacify her. The opening, she said, in her introduction, is fixed but the end of the performance is always spontaneous, a surprise for the audience, musicians and the dancer herself as she decides at the last moment what the ending of the performance will be. The ending is different each evening the dance is performed. Accompanied by sour stirring vocals, voilin, natavangam and mridangam the audience reacted with her every bhav – the happiness of love, the sorrow of radha, the pain of gokul on seeing both the lovers angry with each other and finally the joyous union of the two love lorn.
She also performed on a piece from Kalidas’s Kumarsambhavam where manmath, the lord of love (Kamdev), enters forest with Rati and performs his duty, shoots his love arrow towards a meditating shiva fully knowing that will be his end.
Her last piece were traditional Tillana and the performance ended with Vande Mataram – a tribute not only to our beautiful and bountiful country but to the mother earth herself.