Dance

Suhasini Koulagi adds her bit to the Poramboke song by T.M. Krishna

She gives it a framework of dance

Today ‘tragedy of the commons’, as envisaged by ecologist Garrett Hardin, is more real than ever. TM Krishna’s musical cover on the heavy industrialisation of Ennore, a neighbourhood of Chennai, captured it brilliantly with its opening lines: “Poramboke (common property) is neither for you nor for me; but for the whole community and the earth itself.”

Situating the song with respect to Bengaluru city, upcoming danseuse Suhasini Koulagi recently launched a Bharatanatyam album for the same song by dancing amidst the Kengeri drain and prominent dump yards and slums of Bengaluru. “As soon as I saw the renowned musician’s album two years ago, this flashed and I’m grateful that T.M. Krishna readily agreed and guided me,” says the young danseuse, draped in white sari with indigo border at the launch of her album, ‘Bharatanatyam for commons’ at Ragi Kana, Bengaluru. She is seen in the album in similar handloom cotton saris against the backdrop of heaps of waste and gallons of dark water.

“Coming from a family that believes in Gandhian values, environmental sensitivity was ingrained in me from childhood. However, it was my brief stay in Bengaluru that prompted me to raise awareness about the colossal degradation of the common land,” she says.

After walking amidst tonnes of garbage, the care for the environment has gone deeper for Suhasini who now thinks twice before buying a bar of chocolate or anything wrapped in plastic. “The images of non-biodegradable waste that I saw from up-close during my shoot comes back to me, each time I am doing things that are not eco-friendly,” she admits.

The most challenging part for her was looking for Bharatanatyam gestures for the modern lyrics. For instance, there is no particular hasta to show concrete buildings or industries, whereas for depicting mythological characters or human emotions there are fixed and established ways. Finally, with the combination of hastas, expression and movement, it was possible,” she feels.

The album
  • Suhasini’s album is titled, ‘Poramboke/Bharatanatyam’ on Youtube

Suhasini is currently learning from Karuna Sagari of Coimbatore, whose interest is also in employing Bharatanatyam for contemporary issues. “In the coming years, I wish to take Bharatanatyam to rural areas and also engage with current issues such as transgender rights, education and so on.”

Commenting on the reactions by the dance fraternity regarding her experiment, the dancer opines: “responses have been varied. If gurus like Sheela Chandrashekar realise that these kind of engagements are the need of the hour, others don’t see any point in it. Can I ever satisfy all of them? It’s the awareness being created through my work I’m concerned about.”

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 4:32:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/reclaiming-common-ground/article29108230.ece

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