Nine episodes from the life of Krishna were presented in Odissi form.

Does the mythical and mysterious Krishna matter at all for the highly pragmatic and calculative corporate world of today? And can classical arts be of any appeal for the corporate people? To have the answers, one should have watched Krishna Saranam, the interpretative Odissi dance presentation by the well-known Orissa Dance Academy in Bhubaneswar recently.

Noted dancer-choreographer Aruna Mohanty, the director of the Academy, conceived and choreographed the idea while SREI-BNP Paribas, an Orissa-based corporate house, supported and hosted the multiple media production that aimed at exploring the relevance of Krishna's life for the corporate culture. Mohanty roped in young scholar and script writer Kedar Mishra, human resource development expert Khirod Patnaik and artist Lalatendu Rath to form the think-tank of her production for which Ramahari Das scored the music and percussion exponent Dhaneswar Swain designed the rhythm.

The two-hour presentation was spread over nine episodes, each episode telling a tale from the life of Krishna while highlighting a value that he practiced and that was of enough relevance to the corporate sector today. While the narrative commenced with the birth of Krishna an incarnation of the God to bring order to the chaotic world - suggesting the corporate sector's role in shaping of a new social order - the second episode delineated how it can protect the society and the environment as Krishna did for the Gopis and the cows by lifting Gobardhan Mountain.

The third episode that visualized the eternal bond between the Krishna and the Gopis suggested how important it was to have a similar bond between all the stake holders of the corporate sector while in the next one - the swayamvar scene of princess Draupadi - showed how Krishna provided equal opportunity to all the contenders though he ensured that the deserving won. Similarly, in the fifth sequence, the Pandavas in exile were shown adapting to the demand of the new roles and responsibilities (even warrior Arjun becomes a competent dance teacher) emphasizing how multi-tasking is a way to negotiate challenges in the corporate culture. And in the sixth sequence, Krishna was seen facing the conflicting demands from Arjun and Duryodhan to be on their sides - exactly as a corporate executive encounters - but facilitates a win-win situation for both by offering them a chance to choose.

Moving on, the seventh and eighth scenes dawn from the battlefield in The Mahabharat where Krishna teaches Arjun how karma is dharma for him - exactly as the vision of the leader needs to be executed honestly by the followers - and how the right strategy and diplomacy were important to win in the war and in destroying evil and upholding the value system. And in the final episode, Krishna even destroys his own when they drift away from the path of truth. He made the rule and abided by it and never negotiated with the truth - the ultimate lesson that the production pointed out to the corporate leaders.

Keywords: Odissiballet