Every act was so perfect that even a girl will envy with Gopi Krishna ji, often referred to as Natraj. How finely he performed each and every move of those two Nayikas? That even nayikas will think twice before attempting those abhinaya acts.
These acts are called as “Nayika Bhed” (different types of heroines).
RoopGarvita, swadhin…. etc etc. all those types of Nayikas came alive that night on the stage of KAMANI auditorium, New Delhi. The lady(Nayika), who was proud of her looks/beauty gets ready for going to temple for puja. Each and every minute details of doing the Shringar, Gopi Krishna did portrayed the whole picture, as if we are looking the picture, and nayika is getting ready in front of our eyes. That is a great feat to achieve on stage that too at an age where most of persons are not believed to DANCE(?).
In the whole process of getting ready and offering the puja the nayika do not leave behind the idea that she has to look better and nothing should lessen her beauty. So how she carries her dupatta, her anklets, the thali of puja and offers the flowers to the deity. How she keeps herself so positioned that even the flower offering should also not disturb her robes to falter!!
This lady is different from another nayika who gathers all things for puja and then walks to temple and offers her puja at feet of deity totally immersed in the Bhakti Bhav. When he did this abhinay those two nayika which we saw on stage were totally different from each other. The difference was well evident in each nuances he shown, whether the way they make pleats of their hairs- the veni, the way they adorn jewellery and how they lift dupatta and then drape around her, and then carries the thali each minute details was so different and that was the “Tapasya” if anyone wants to name it. The Kala saadhna, riyaz, or practice with patience now days we can call it.
I did not know how chunri flew in air and came down on head of the lady & fits in with perfect ease following each beat of Taal. It landed on the SAM. Gopi Krishna must have mastered it after practicing for many years. No one can match him on this aspect, as far as I know and seen.
He also performed the “Gat” purely his creation. The Uchal Kood ki gat. Since it was nowhere described in any text on dance. Thus the name can be given to this gat. First he would act like running and then with a jump slips of the floor of stage and with a markable gesture stops at the SAM. He repeated it many times and every time with more precision he landed on SAM, in majestic way. Nowhere of earth will I find such an act. It was an Innovation novel creation peculiar to Gopi Krishna ji only.
He said on that day that once Pt Birju Maharaj ji was doing some rehearsal at time of Mughal E Azam dance sequence. Then Lachu Maharaj told Pt Birju Maharj ji that you don’t get cheated by this lad (Gopi) he will dsteal the show by hi all uchal kood while you will be left behind with showing the nazakat in abhinaya. So don’t let him charm you to do any duet sequence. I don’t know whether it is correct but that day Gopi Krishna himself told the audience. And Pt Birju Maharaj ji was there in the front row of hall. Himself enjoying all the fun.
Later Gopi Krishna ji had made a request that if possible he would like to dance together with Pt Birju Maharaj ji that day itself. Gopi Krishna ji then called Pt Birju Maharaj ji on stage and touched his feet saying that as the tradition has it that by touching his feet he is paying respect to his ancestors, Lachu Maharaj, Shambhu Maharaj ji etc. Since Pt Birju Maharaj ji is from their family and at present is the torch bearer of Lucknow Gharana. Gopi ji later commented that even though Birju ji must be younger to him by few years but belonging to those he will touch his feet.
These are the great traditions which we follow in our India. It is a land of great traditions.
Sadly that was the last programme of Gopi Krishna ji in Delhi I saw, after some time I heard he passed away.