Dance

Parwati Dutta’s ‘Sutratman...’ was a well-knit presentation

Choreographed by Parwati Dutta, Mahagami Gurukul presented Odissi-Kathak ensemble, ‘Sutratman: Luminous Threads of Gandhi,’ in Mumbai recently

Choreographed by Parwati Dutta, Mahagami Gurukul presented Odissi-Kathak ensemble, ‘Sutratman: Luminous Threads of Gandhi,’ in Mumbai recently  

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Parwati Dutta’s ‘Sutratman...,’ a Kathak-Odissi ensemble, was spun around Gandhi’s principles

‘Sutratman, Luminous Threads of Gandhi,’ a dance, music, narrative with multimedia, was presented by Mahagami ensemble of Kathak and Odissi dancers at the Kala Viraasat festival and hosted by Banyan Tree at the Nehru Centre Auditorium, Worli.

Conceived and choreographed by Parwati Dutta, ‘Sutratman...’ was a multi-layered compilation of Gandhi’s life principles; “A dance tribute to the luminous soul and enlightened mind that showed the path of peace and illuminated our journeys towards weaving the threads of compassion, forgiveness, truth, faith and divinity,” announced Parwati. The sutradhar with the ektara symbolised the divine link between Gandhi and the charkha. The playing of ‘Vaishnava Janato’ sought to travel back in time to Gandhi’s childhood days, education, mortification in South Africa.

Gandhi was inspired by four luminaries: Buddha’s Satya Ahimsa and, Karuna; Henry Salt for vegetarianism by choice; Tolstoy for universal love, non-violence, simplicity and purity of purpose and Mahatma Phule’s social reform in eradication of untouchability and empowerment of women. The dancers were in the forefront presenting the ideologies while photographs were projected on the backdrop.

The Pallavi in raag Jog, music composed by Parwati, deployed chauka and tribhanga features of Odissi, to knit together mystical metaphors and movements.

The eleven pledges (sankalp) of Gandhi: Satya, ahimsa, asteya (non-stealing), aparigraha (non-possession), brahmacharya, sharira-shram, aaswad (no temptations for taste), abhaya (fearlessness), sarva-dharma-samaanatva, swadeshi, asprishyataa-nirmoolan were visually delineated through tatkaar in Ashtamangal taal.

Using the stage space as a loom with threads comprising the warp and weft, the dancers moved through the act of weaving in a temporal space. Dancers traversing the vast stage sketching lines, diagonals and circles was notable in conception and execution.

The evolution of a life in the womb was compared to the genesis of fabric through the spinning of the charkha and the journey of a thread in a loom.

A set of Sanskrit alphabets formulate Ram stuti when recited left to right and Krishna stuti, from right to left, allegorically interlacing through sounds and syllables, finally weaving a fabric of devotion.

Marathi song ‘Dhaga Dhaga Akhanda Vinuyaa’ appealed for collective harmony.

Visually appealing

Kathak dancers entered holding thread in hand, cloth on head, like a canopy, creating visually pleasing patterns, twisting and turning with grace and abandon. Kabir’s ‘Jhini Jhini bini Chadariya’ was about the eternal divine Charkha that spins and weaves the body, exclusive to each of us, making it imperative for us not to malign it by sins.

A brief extract from Geetopadesh narrated Krishna’s counsel to Arjuna apropos a stable mind, unaffected by misery or pleasure. Just as we procure new apparel when the older ones are torn, the soul acquires a new body woven by eternity in every new birth. Body is mortal but soul is eternal.

Gandhi’s form was made of luminous threads; the soulful humming of ‘Vaishanava Jana to’ with a real charkha spinning on stage, a young dancer got down from the stage to distribute stands of sutra to the invitees in the first row.

Simple costume of dhoti, dupatta draped gracefully, designed common for both Odissi and Kathak genres, was apt and soothing.

Dulcet jatis and singing and dancing of ‘Jay Jay Vithal,’ ‘Allahu Akbar,’ sound of church bells ringing and chants of Budham Sharanam, created a mystical ambience.

Mastery over the researched content, compositions embellished with heart-warming music, rhythmic patterns and emotive excursions in both genres, the seamless jugalbandi segments, serene silences, calm and contained abhinaya, ‘Sutratman’ was a comprehensive package spreading rasanubhava of eternal truth and amity.

A collection of some of the favourite hymns and devotional songs of Mahatma Gandhi were presented by renowned vocalist Parthiv Gohil. Chakra, a collaboration of sitar exponent Purbayan Chatterjee and South African jazz saxophonist McCoy Mrubata, was a musical tribute to Gandhi.

“It is the 11th edition of Kala Viraasat, an annual multi-genre festival of Banyan Tree. We celebrated Gandhi and his huge contributions towards not just India’s Independence but towards mankind,” said Mahesh Babu, director, Banyan Tree.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 4:50:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/parwati-duttas-sutratman-was-a-well-knit-presentation/article29842381.ece

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