A fine retelling of the Ramayana

Dance drama ‘Ramayana Sudha’ was performed in Chennai   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

It is not often that every element in a dance production comes together beautifully as it did in ‘Ramayana Sudha’ at the Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai, recently. Considering this is a tale that has been narrated, danced, sung and acted often across the world. Yet, it is a story that lends itself to creativity and divine experience every time.

The Desika Daya Trust, a charitable organisation founded by Dushyant Sridhar, presented this dance drama to tell the story of Lord Rama from His birth till Sabari Moksham as part one of a multimedia production.

The production was executed competently. Was it the vision of Dushyant Sridhar, who is seeing Ramayana the way it needs to be, keeping in mind dialogue, dance and music? Or was it the black, white and grey visuals created by Chella Videos? The reflection of the moon on clear water, flowing river, sunrise and illustrations by Keshav projected on a screen behind enhanced the appeal. The absence of colour most of the time on the screen highlighted the mood of each scene.

The magnificent music was by Rajkumar Bharathi, who is known to work with several dance productions. The eight dancers — students of Dhananjayans, Shobana Balachandra, Sheela Unnikrishnan, Sheejith Krishna and Gayatri Subramaniam, maintained the pace and quality of dancing through out. The costumes in pleasant colour combinations helped depict the characters. Shobhana, with her pithy choreography, kept the audience glued throughout the 140 minutes.

Dummy cutline

Dummy cutline  

Beginning with a short introduction by Dushyant Sridhar, ‘Ramayana Sudha’ used Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi and Sanskrit lyrics and texts from different Ramayanas, strung together by narration in English. This is probably because the production is going to travel to different countries. Another important factor that worked in favour of the production is that it did not feel over-stretched, with artistes and choreographer not getting carried away by the emotions (not a bad thing). Keeping in mind the impatience of the audience, the time factor was maintained.

Every scene, from the birth of Rama, was described briefly through music and dance, with dancers playing multiple roles seamlessly and effectively. The ones that stood out were that of Manthara, Jatayu, Ravana and Shoorpanakha among others.

Using Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi movements, the dancers displayed good training.

It was a coming together of different styles, forms, languages and sensibilities. Credit must also go to Sai Sharavanam and Satyajit for the soundscape design and the lighting, which is so integral to anything of this scale.

Work is on to present the second part of the production next year.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 8:32:34 AM |

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