A dance team from Bahrain presents ‘Meluha’

Smitha Vinod   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Meluha, a land of peace and love, is all set to come alive on Sunday at Ganesham. Meluha, a dance drama conceptualised, scripted, choreographed and directed by Vidya Sreekumar, is based on the mythological tale of Shiva and Sati.

The dance piece begins with Nandi recollecting his first encounter with Shiva and leading him to Meluha, a Utopian land. Here, Shiva meets Sati. When Sati dies due to mischief caused by the Nagas, Shiva becomes inconsolable.

A scene from Meluha

A scene from Meluha   | Photo Credit: Vivek Biju

And while the last scene of the dance depicts Shiva leaving Meluha with Nandi upon Sati’s death, the story does not end there. “Shiva goes through several more personal transformations. Nandi who observes Shiva’s journey from a common man into a Mahadev, becomes a religious scholar who preaches the aspects of Shiva’s life and philosophy,” says Vidya, who runs Nadana, a dance school in Bahrain.

The dance drama has 32 artistes, most of them students of Vidya’s dance institute performing on stage. Five of them are dance teachers in Bahrain. Meluha has several dance forms, right from Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi to folk dance and contemporary.

“The choice of dance style has been adapted to suit the characters, the emotions and the scenes in Meluha. While the Devi’s steps are graceful, Shiva’s is more masculine. Some characters, like that of the king for example do not have any dance steps as it does not gel with the character,” says Achu Arun Raj, the creative director of the show. Jojo, who plays Dharapati, a Naga, a grey character in the piece, was given training in rope dance by city-based Vijith Vikram, a former student of Daksha Seth.

Vidya Sreekumar

Vidya Sreekumar   | Photo Credit: Achu Photography

Vidya admits that the title of the dance drama is inspired by Amish Tripathi’s book series titled The Immortals of Meluha: “I have always liked the depth of love between Shiva and Sati. It took so many years for Shiva to heal from Sati’s death. I have always been fascinated by his agony and pain upon losing Sati.” And while the title might have been inspired by Amish’s series, it was the line Shivoham, Shivoham in Adi Shankaracharya’s Nirvana shatakam that led Vidya to bring Shiva to life. “I started imagining Shiva as a regular person like you and me.”

A student of Kalamandalam Balan and Rekha Ajith for Bharatanatyam and Pallavi Krishnan for Mohiniyattam, Vidya recalls accompanying her Mohiniyattam guru to various shows. “I was fascinated by creative works and the grandeur of the pieces once staged. Never did I imagine that one day, I too would be doing the same,” says the 35-year-old, who has choreographed dance dramas Panchali Swayamvaram, Radhayam and Usha Parinayam in Bahrain.

Cast and crew
  • Meluha has music by Palakkad KL Sreeram with lyrics in Sanskrit by LR Sambath. Smitha Vinod, Neethu Janardhanan, Ashbin Anil, Malavika Sureshkumar, Soorya Prakash, Lekshmi Sree and Jebin Marianelson don the lead roles. The dance drama has been produced by Vinod Das.

Her last work, Kamala: A Ballad of Celestial Love was staged across West Asia and in Thiruvananthapuram. When pointed out that her characters are inspired by Indian mythologies, Vidya says: “That is because the characters and their tales are still relevant in today’s world. You can relate to them.”

Meluha will be staged at Tagore Theatre on January 11, 6.45 pm as the grand finale of the Soorya Festival.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 4:44:39 AM |

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