(A Synthesis of Bharat Natyam and Hindustani Classical Music)
Bharat Natyam has always been synonymous with Carnatic (South Indian) music and Tamil, Telugu and Kannada languages. Sucheta was always enamoured by the beauty of Bharata Natyam. However she was also aware that she was not able to get the audiences in other parts of India involved and relish the beauty of this style. She therefore took the first step of giving performances of Bharat Natyam with Marathi compositions in Maharashtra. No doubt, the fact that the compositions were in Marathi did bring some awareness among the Maharashtrian people regarding Bharata Natyam. It was then that the realization came to her that just a change in language was not adequate for the purpose she had in mind. The inspiration for blending Bharat Natyam with Hindustani Classical Music came from Sucheta’s understanding of this fact. It made her aware that the synthesis of Bharat Natyam and Hindustani Classical Music was the need of the present times, when Bharat Natyam is emerging as an all India style.
It was a colossal task, but she took up this challenge. She started the study and practical experiments on this project since 1980. While achieving this synthesis, she wanted to keep intact the purity and original values of the dance form as well as music. She did not want it to be a translation or a transplant. She wanted the soul of Bharat Natyam to take roots in the system of Hindustani Classical Music so that the newly sown seed and its sapling would have it’s own identity and individuality while assimilating the important and beautiful aspects of the Bharat Natyam dance and the Hindustani music system. To achieve this, the soul of Bharat Natyam needed to be redefined and a new format of Hindustani music compositions evolved to present it in a proper manner.
Realising that there can not be Parampara without Shastra she has compiled it in the form an exhaustive treatise .She has analysed her work in the form of a thesis , which is rewarded with a Ph.D . In this work she has received guidance from stalwarts like late Dr.vasantrao Deshpande , Dr.Prabha Atre , late shri Madhukar Khadilkar and late Pt Arjun shejwal as well as Dr.Vijaykumar Chapekar.
She has conceived the recital format of NRITYA-GANGA parallel to the traditional Bharat Natyam recital. It begins with NAMAN – an invocation followed by PRASTAR – a pure dance composition in slow tempo. SARGAM emphasizes various patterns of musical notes while ABHINAYA constitutes elaborate treatment of interpretative as well as pure dance. ASHTAMANGAL is a novel pure dance piece paying tribute to the guardians of eight directions while traditional TARANA offers a joyous bouquet of pure dance patterns. Apart from this the recital also includes some typical forms of Hindustani music like CHATRANG, THUMRI, DADRA AND BHAJAN. The themes of the compositions are chosen in such a way that it gives experience of the emotion of love through all it’s facets of Vatsalya (motherly love), Rati (sensuous love) and Bhakti (devotion) and creates tranquility of mind. The musical instruments chosen for accompaniment are Pakhawaj, Sarangi and Basuri along with the vocal music. Nritya-Ganga repertoire today includes over seventy-five compositions of various types and Sucheta is constantly adding more to them.
In the new nomenclature of Nritya-Ganga given to this dance form by Sucheta, the word signifies the flow of tradition that is never stagnant. Ganga is the holy river revered by all Indians, which symbolizes the North-South integration achieved through this recital.
Smt. Sucheta performed the inaugural performances of Nritya-Ganga in Bombay and Pune way back in April 1985. There have been improvements, additions and modifications over last two decades to achieve fine tuning and perfection. Since then, she has staged over 150 performances of Nritya-Ganga, both in India and abroad.
The knowledgeable feel that Nritya-Ganga has certainly added a new dimension to Bharat Natyam and has made it more enjoyable for the lay as well as the discerning audiences all over India, without compromising on it’s highly artistic values.
Maharashtra has been a cultural bridge between north and south. Sucheta feels that by creating Nritya-Ganga, she has strengthened this bridge through dance! Now that her disciples of three generations have learned this dance style and more and more students are learning it, and this combined with the fact that audiences including those in Southern states are enjoying it with involvement, one can say with all humility that a sister style or a new Bani (gharana) of Bharata Natyam is born
THE PRESS SAYS :
THE INDIAN EXPRESS, MUMBAI :
“FOR YEARS TOGETHER SUCHETA HAS NOT ONLY PRESERVED A LITHE FIGURE AND A LOVELY , EXPRESSIVE CONTENANCE , BUT ALSO THAT SPIRIT OF EAGER ENQUIRY , WHICH KEEPS HER EVOLVING AS A CREATIVE DANCER ………………”
THE TIMES OF INDIA , PUNE :
“THIS UNIQUE EXPERIMENT, NRITYA GANGA, HAS OVER THE YEARS, MATURED INTO A DANCE STYLE, HAVING ITS OWN INDIVIDUALITY, WAS MORE THAN EVIDENT IN SUCHETA’S DELIGHTFUL RECITAL……………..”
TIMES SUNDAY REVIEW, NEW DELHI :
“THE ONE DANCER WHO MOVED ME MOST WAS SUCHETA. SHE IS SO SOFT, PASSIONATE AND HONEST ……………” BY SUSANNE LINKE, CONTMPORARY DANCER FROM GERMANY ABOUT EAST WEST DANCE ENCOUNTER.”
SRUTI MAGAZINE , CHENNAI :
“SUCHETA’S BHARATA NATYAM TO HINDUSTNI MUSIC HAS ONE EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD QUALITY. THE DANCE AND MUSIC SEEM INSEPARABLE LIKE A FLOWER AND ITS FRAGRANCE…….. . IT IS AN ALCHEMY BEYOND ART ARTIFICE . IT IS SOMETHING THAT SPRINGS FROM WITHIN .”
FIRST CITY MAGAZINE , CALCUTTA :
“ NRITYA GANGA PRESENTATION BY SUCHETA HELD THE AUDIENCE IN RAPT ATTENTION . UNLIKE OTHER DANCERS, WHO BUILD A LOT OF HYPE OVER MINOR “CREATIONS, SUCHETA SIMPLY LET HER DANCE SPEAK FOR ITSELF MOST EFFECTIVELY.”