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Updated: November 29, 2011 20:07 IST

Musical interpretation

SRAVASTI DATTA
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Actor Shobana. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
Actor Shobana. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Shobana brings Krishna to town. The danseuse tells Sravasti Datta the performance is a representation of Krishna's many roles

Award-winning actor and Bharatnatya exponent, Shobana brings her latest musical “Krishna” to Bangalore next month. “We performed the premiere show in Chennai, which sold out immediately. In Dubai too it was a success,” informs Shobana.

“Krishna” is an amalgamation of classical and film dance. It has 23 performers, some as young as six, with Shabana Azmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Nandita Das, Radhika and Surya doing voice-overs for the main characters in the production. “The show is not only for the critics but also for anyone who wants to be part of an experience. The script was worthy enough to have top actors to give their voice-over for the main characters.”

The creative process did not start in a day. “It happened over a course of five years,” says Shobana. It was a calling for her. “I realised that I didn't know much about Krishna. I wondered how he became an icon. So I met archaeologists and read up more on him. The script took me 15 days to write, but three years to reflect on.”

Condensing Krishna's 80 to 90 years into a two-and-a-half hour performance presented its challenges, but it was fun too. “The difficult part was to get the cast to perform. To deliver what I had envisaged.” After writing the script, incorporating the music and other aspects were Shobana's other challenges. However, Oscar winner Resul Pookutty, despite his other commitments, worked for it with enthusiasm.

Of the parts she found appealing, Shobana says: “His growing up years were interesting, but I can't quite relate to him as a philosopher. The musical is an attempt to convey the moral values propagated by Krishna to the people. Some of the lesser known stories are also touched upon including his role in Mahabharata. Besides Carnatic music, the show will also have songs from Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam movies.”

Shobana speaks of the “nuisance notion” that classical dance is boring. She contends that Bharatnatya is meant for a niche audience. “That's why it is called classical. It is for people who can empathise with and have a flair for it. But there are also those who are attracted to the movements or music. I've seen my audience grow over the years, which is good.”

As for which medium, the stage or film, she is comfortable with, Shobana says the two are different, but classical dance excites her.

The 30-piece ensemble piece “Krishna” will be performed on January 28 at Chowdiah Memorial Hall.

Keywords: BharatnatyamShobana

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