Dance-drama reinterprets the Mahabharata
New Delhi : In a fresh reinterpretation of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, the Pandavas, the Kauravas, Draupadi and Lord Krishna, are featured at the brink of their lives, introspect and question whether or not the mega battle was at all necessary.
Through a new dance drama “Ateet ki Parchhaiyan”, danseuse Shama Bhate, seeks to give the Mahabharata a new dimension, in the language of the Indian classical dance idioms.
The director re-imagines that when the war ended, its futility must have hit those who were a part of or witness to the bloodshed. “The war is over. They (characters) are compelled to look back and introspect their actions and reactions. The victory suddenly is worthless and futile and the defeat equally meaningless,” Bhate says.
The show is scheduled for November 3 as part of the India International Centre’s ongoing annual festival, “The IIC Experience – A Festival of the Arts,” here at the cultural institution itself.
A Kathak exponent, Bhate has used seven different classical dance forms – Kathakali, Odissi, Mohiniyattam, Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam, Chau and Kathak to dissect the multi layered plot.
“The Mahabharata spectrum is vast, many layered, complex and multi-dimensional. There are stories within stories, many different characteristics hidden under the main characteristics otherwise apparent.
“I thought of using multiple dance styles because it gives a large spectrum of movements, stances, gestures, facial expressions – in short idioms,” she says.
To depict the disrobing of Draupadi, which is most popularly believed to be the trigger behind the catastrophic war, she has used Kathak to execute the transitional and the ending pieces, while Hindustani music prevails throughout the play.
She has also incorporated several narratives to explain the sub-text and the underlying philosophy in the story.
Bhate, who has a “massive fascination” for the Hindu text, feels that one of the major binding factors in the tale is “Krishna’s omnipresent spirit.”
“When the characters think aloud, reflect aloud, also when they remorse aloud, they are in fact connecting with this all-pervading spirit of Krishna,” she says.
Through this reinterpretation of Mahabharata portraying a complete spectrum of human life with its ambitions, aspirations and inevitable frustrations, the play offers its viewers the power to be subjective and derive their respective lessons from the story.
“There is no universal truth. It’s for everybody to interpret one’s own truth. Incidences are interpreted by some of the characters but there are deliberate gaps for people to have their own interpretations, own explanations, own viewpoints about life around them,” she says.
The festival that began here on October 30 is scheduled to continue till November 4.