Dance

A new dimension to the Mahabharata

What are the positives of Duryodhana? Watch his character from the Mahabharata come to life at the play ‘Suyodhana’ that has a different take

This weekend Sandhya Kalavidaru performs a well-acclaimed mythological play ‘Suyodhana’ a 90-minute Kannada mythological that highlights the positives of the Kourava ruler, Duryodhana, referring to him as Suyodhana. “Duryodhana is often mistaken to mean ‘bad ruler’ but his name coined from two Sanskrit words means ‘one who is extremely difficult to fight with or wage war against. This is actually why the 10th Century poet Ranna in appreciation of many other qualities of Duryodhana, referred to him as Suyodhana in one of his Kannada epics. Since our play brings out the positives of Duryodhana, we picked the name Suyodhana,” says SV Krishna Sharma, playwright and director of the play. “This would be the 120th show for ‘Suyodhana’ and I am happy that the play going on since 1977 when we first staged it, still beckons an encore. The play makes people contemplate while considering the larger picture,” says Sharma, founder of the 40-year-old drama troupe Sandhya Kalavidaru who has also acted as Suyodhana in 100 shows.

Known for his lateral thinking and taking interesting episodes from the epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata, Sharma recently staged Poulasthyana Pranaya Kathe where the researched work showed the other side of Ravana. “When we have a large epic that has multi-layered stories within which characters reveal themselves due to situational psychology, we need to show them in all shades. Based on saint Vyasa’s Mahabharata, and many Sanskrit and Kannada works, I have delved into the character of Duryodhana to have a narrative that is sympathetic towards many of his actions,” says Sharma.

‘Suyodhana’s narrative is seen through the eyes of Duryodhana who justifies his decisions and actions, that later culminates in the colossal war of Kurukshetra between the cousins Kouravas and the Pandavas. ‘Suyodhana’ the last survivor, reflects on the turn of events, people and the rational behind his defeat, despite having a bigger army.

The play begins with Duryodhana’s role towards the end of the 18-day epic battle. Duryodhana is at the Vishampayana lake, deep in grief after losing his kith and kin in the bloodshed, including his close associate Karna. Krishna tells Duryodhana to pick his opponent from the Pandavas for the final clash. Krishna chooses Bheema, and in the mace battle that follows, GadhaYuddha, between Bheema and Duryodhana, Duryodhana’s skill and technique of weaponry comes through. After a long and brutal battle between the two disciples of Balarama, as Duryodhana begins to exhaust Bheema, Krishna signals Bheema to hit Duryodhana on his thigh - his weak point. “That is against the rules of fair play as it is a clever pitch by Krishna. Isn’t this a clear cheat,” asks Duryodhana. “Even as children when we were studying warfare, it was Dronacharya who favoured Arjuna. And why did Krishna choose to be become Arjuna’s sarathy (charioteer) when both of us had gone to Krishna for help before the war?” Duryodhana’s outcry yields no answers, but soon gets to witness Krishna’s Viswaroopa in the battlefield, underlining His divine powers to balance the good and the evil.

“But from Duryodhana’s perspective, he fought bravely and for the just reasons,” explains Sharma adding that the play has eight male characters with no female on stage. All the actors are IT professionals, apart from one senior officer from BSNL. Narendra Kashyap as Suyodhana, along with Kuldeep Somayaji , V Ranganath Rao, V Ashok, Pradeep Anche, Madhukar, Manoj Kumar and Madhusudhan will take to the stage. Music by Krishna Sharma also includes slokas from the Bhagavad Gita.

(Suyodhana, March 1, 7pm, KH Kalasoudha, Hanumanthanagar, Tickets @ the venue)

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 7:26:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/the-play-suyodhana/article30950536.ece

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