The Splendid ‘Snehanjali’ by Sreepadam School of Arts Expresses Love Through Art

sreepadam 1in By Chitoor Ramachandran

STAFFORD: The director Divya Unni deserves great appreciation for her creative ideas for focusing on the theme love in Snehanjali, a performance that was held at Stafford Center on November 15.  The participants (students and associates of Sreepadam School of Arts) of various levels of training which exceeded one hundred fifty  in number immensely engrossed the packed audience throughout the three hours.

Love, in its various forms being a major factor in interpersonal relationships, is one of the most common themes in the scriptures of various cultures since time immemorial. Ancient Vedic scriptures and puranic stories recognize love as the matrix of human life and therefore all the Indian classical art forms like dance, music and sculptures are embedded in this theme.

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Divya Unni

Success of this production in reaching out the audience of a wide age group and cultural background can be attributed to Divya Unni’s training and vast experience in Indian classical dance and theatrical performance.  The well thought-out plan of the program extended several well known episodes from Hindu mythology with situations in today’s life as examples to highlight the vital role of love that links all of us as a community.

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It was noticeable that while the program did adhere to the classical style, minor deviations were made, perhaps, to attract the beginner level children.

Narration prior to each dance item in a ‘ceased and forgotten format’ brought freshness and helped the audience grasp the message of the dance item that followed.

From the auspicious invocation dance with the melodious recital of Sanskrit mantra extolling Sri Ganesha, till the colorful patriotic grand finale, Snehanjali entertained the audience without a single monotonous moment during the 180 minutes of the show.   The spectacular costumes were delightful and the accompanying music was outstanding. The collective effort of the participants of various degrees of training was very impressive.

While maintaining the central theme and the stage aesthetics, each act exhibited distinct characteristics. A few of the noteworthy acts include Bhakthi of Meerabai (devotional love), Siva- Parvathy (Love of the spouse), Dushyantha-Shakuntala (Love between soul mates).  In these items, acting conveyed the message very effectively even without understanding the meaning of the background music.  Commendable creativity could be noticed in the item that described love of nature.  Particularly poignant was an item on Maternal Love. Divya Unni and Vismaya stole the heart of the audience by acting the roles of  a mother and child.  Their acting, the music and the supporting dancers carried the audience to an emotional ecstasy. It was indeed a treat.

Several of the performers (senior students and associates of  Sreepadam School of Arts) in the show who charismatically played leading roles are great inspiration to the aspiring children  who performed enthusiastically to make this program a grand success.  The rhythmic movement of the little children itself is a pleasure to watch. They do preserve the cultural heritage and treasured legends.

One could imagine the tremendous effort taken by the volunteers to present this program.  Proceeds of this program will benefit the Charitable Organization- Embracing the World- Care Homes for children .