Malavika Sarukkai plays Arjuna and Krishna in her forthcoming production

Malavika Sarukkai

Malavika Sarukkai   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain


Bharatanatya exponent Malavika Sarukkai’s latest production, The Battle Within, a solo dance inspired by the Bhagavad Gita will be performed at Bengaluru on November 2.

The concept and choreography for the solo dance is by Malavika herself who will be taking on the two male characters of Arjuna and Krishna, while she picturises the larger scene of the epic discourse on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. The Battle Within will have her steps of classical interpretation reading the deeper layers of the heart and the mind, fired by emotions of conflict.

Clad in a green Kanjivaram sari, Malavika is in a meditative moment when we speak to her at a beautiful penthouse apartment. “As I look back at 50 years of dancing, I think of my mother (Saroja Kamakshi Sarukkai) who brought me to this point,” says Malavika who was in the city to share her thoughts.

Her connection with philosophical texts like the Bhagavad Gita goes back to her childhood. “My mother would read out passages from the Gita when I was growing up in Mumbai. She has nurtured me into interpreting the epic through dance,” says Malavika.

Malavika Sarukkai.

Malavika Sarukkai.   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

The Battle Within is just one of Malavika’s forays into Bhagavad Gita. Speaking of the inputs that have gone into it, she says, “My concept and choreography are strengthened by powerful music by Murali Parthasarathy and recorded by sound designer Sai Sravanam.”

The costumes are by Delhi-based designer Sandhya Raman, lights by Niranjan Gokhale while filmmaker Sumantra Ghoshal, who is also the creative collaborator has created the visual design for the production with LED screens.

Taking up novel themes isn’t anything new for the dancer who has presented unexplored subjects to audiences worldwide. She has performed to a contemporary poem, ‘Bird Song’, written by her sister, Priya Sarukkai Chabria. Malavika’s Raas mirrors the ecstasy of the Gopis when they venture into the woods hearing the music of Lord Krishna’s flute. Always on the look out for magical moments, Malavika says, “In my Thari - The Loom I was inspired by the handwoven, unstitched garment that I researched and dedicated to Indian Craftsmanship.”

She has also done a 15-minute production on the environmentalist Saalumarada Thimakka.

The right step

She advises youngsters stepping into the world of classical dance, to focus on learning.

“Young people shouldn’t become competitive by getting into reality shows because, one has to keep challenging oneself. Excellence cannot be instilled, so one should not be afraid of hard work. Winning or losing in competitions will not determine if you are a good artiste," says Malavika recollecting her difficult path.

“I had no place to rehearse at my flat in Mumbai. Once we moved to Chennai to an independent home before I turned 10, I never stopped exploring. If you are the seeker, you will find success in quality,” says Malavika.

The Battle Within, by Malavika Sarukkai is on November 2 at Chowdiah Memorial Hall at 6 pm. Tickets on

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 8:15:30 AM |

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