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Updated: July 25, 2012 19:37 IST

Soldier and statesman

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BEYOND INTELLECT Shobana says she went by her instincts while choreographing the performance. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan
The Hindu
BEYOND INTELLECT Shobana says she went by her instincts while choreographing the performance. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

Shobana tells Sravasti Datta her latest dance recital, Krishna, is an attempt to provide an insight into his philosophy of life

Krishna, the perfect embodiment of valour and statesmanship, has inspired danseuse and choreographer Shobana to portray him, yet again, in a completely different form. She portrays the values of the Indian soldier through her show Krishna, which will be performed as a part of Kargil Divas on Thursday. The performance is being held to honour the 527 martyrs of the 1999 Kargil War.

Krishna the strategist is as intriguing as Krishna the lover. “There are only a few stories of Krishna that are popular,” says Shobana over the phone. “His exploits with the gopikas, for example. But not many understand the spiritual implications of such events.”

The immense mind and life of Krishna is difficult to capture in words, leave alone a dance recital, but Shobana has given her creative all to do so. “I have attempted to provide an insight into Krishna’s profound life philosophy, which is a challenge to portray in its entirety. My show is centred on his seemingly contradictory opinion on war that ‘to save a country, we need to sacrifice a village’. It is a sentence with multiple meanings, revealing the astute statesman in him.”

Intense research has gone into the making of Krishna. Shobana read up several texts on him. It wasn’t merely an intellectual exercise for her, she internalised all that she read on him. “I explored his multi-dimensional life. But when it came to choreographing Krishna, I went with my instincts,” explains the Padma Shri awardee.

Deep as Krishna’s views on war maybe, Shobana says that her performance has been created to entertain the viewer. “I have made my performance as aesthetic as possible, as it is a creative venture. It has been designed as a visual marvel.”

However, while making the show visually appealing, Shobana has ensured that it is neither overly preachy nor frivolous.

Shobana plays the role of Krishna with 23 other performers supporting her. The performance promises to be “colourful and vibrant” complete with beautiful music and powerful dialogues. Shobana has roped in artists such as Konkona Sen Sharma and Shabana Azmi to do the voice-overs. “I wanted the very best as I am particular about my productions. Every aspect of the production must add to the performance.”

Shobana has incorporated classical and film dance styles. The background music too is varied. But unlike her other performances, Krishna was less taxing for her. “I feel drained out after working on my shows, but working on Krishna was fun.” The proceeds of the show will go towards the welfare of the families of the soldiers.

Krishna will be performed at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall at Malleswaram at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Tickets are priced at Rs. 1000, 750 and 500 and are available at

For details call 9900134919

To honour the 527 martyrs of the 1999 Kargil War, the performance is to be dominated by Veera rasa, but Krishna the lover is the presiding deity of Sringara rasa. The two are practically the opposites, which probably does not matter once the performer gets a Padma Shri.

To be able to create Veera rasa, the dancer must be well-trained in a martial art, which is so well demonstrated by the Chinese dancers and actors, and to perform the acrobatic karanas (which no one can expect of Shobana). Otherwise it will be again a comedy resembling Rajnikanth flying in the air and kicking mosquitoes.

The making of Krishna cannot consist mainly of reading up several texts on him: the dancer has to possess the alamkaras necessary to portray him, and to use the technique appropriate for Sringara rasa, which was once very well elaborated on bharatanatyam2dance. Of course, a cine fame can probably sell tickets priced at Rs. 1000 regardless whether she is going to dance or just sit on a chair.

from:  parvati
Posted on: Jul 25, 2012 at 21:14 IST
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