‘Taj Mahal’ amalgamated Kathak and Bharatanatyam to tell a love story.
Nagpur-based couple Kishore and Dr. Kishoree dedicated their life to Bharatanatyam and teach at their Nritya Niketan. They have also absorbed the style of Kathak. Their expertise in the both the styles could be witnessed in their mammoth ballet Taj Mahal presented at Ravindra Bharati last week. The production was sponsored by South Zone Cultural Centre, Nagpur and the department of Culture of A.P.. It was a perfect mix of Bharatanatyam and Kathak. There was also considerable amount of folk element in the dance part.
This unusual love story was detailed using flashback technique. This opens in Jannath (heaven) where Mumtaz requests Shah Jahan to show her the grandeur of Taj Mahal that was built after her death. The head of the seat of angels sends them to earth on a full moon night, and they are told to return to ‘Jannath' before day breaks. Once they are in Agra, they walk down memory lane recalling their first meeting at Meena Bazar, their marriage, their coronation and the death of Mumtaz. It ends with Mumtaz Mahal's desire to stay back, even in the form of a spirit, to spread the message of love and peace.
There were two pairs of the royal couple of the same names, with Kishoree Hampiholi and Pooja Munde as the couple in ‘Jannath' and Smitha Durgkar and Shalini Rao playing the mortal roles of the pair on earth, roaming in the land where their story evolved.
The dance parts in both heaven and earth were well-presented In between scenes, a historian appears like a ‘Sutradhar' of traditional dances, penning the story and narrating connecting links. This part of the drama brought out the pleasure and pain in equal measure. The manner in which the Mughal king started to construct the memorial too was vividly portrayed.