A tale of faith and devotion

(From left) Dr Chitra Madhavan, Dr Asha Krishnakumar, Mr Dushyanth Sridhar. PHOTOS: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT  

‘Aranganin Pathaiyil,’ a dance production directed and conceptualised by Dushyanth Sridhar and Dr Asha Krishnakumar, delves into the history of Srirangam’s presiding deity Lord Ranganatha, of how his devotees protected him during the invasion headed by Ghias-ud-din Tughlaq in 1323. For 48 years, Sri Vaishnavites carried the idol across Jyothishkudi (Tamil Nadu), Calicut (Kerala), Melkote (Karnataka), and Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) till He finally returned home in 1371.

Dr Asha had three things in mind when she thought of this concept – interest, tradition, and providing a unique experience, for which folklore has been liberally used. One such is the time when an Azhwar’s idol fell into the backwaters of Kerala. It is said that the Lord’s boat stopped moving and an eagle circled round that spot until the idol was retrieved.

“Once we worked out the script and lyrics, we planned out scenes of how they moved from one place to another. That is where Chithra comes in,” explains Asha Krishnakumar. Dr Chitra Madhavan, consultant historian and backbone of this production, provided insightful evidences of historical facts and inscriptions. “We want the people to have the experience of being inside the temple,” says Dr Asha. For this they seek to create a virtual Srirangam onstage, using LED projections, shadow dancing, and a replica of the Ranganatha Utsavar image and palanquin.

Leading artists have collaborated for this production, choreographed by Roja Kannan, Priya Murle, N. Srikanth and Aswathy, and set to music by Dr Rajkumar Bharathi. Ancient compositions from works prior to the 13th century, such as Abhithistavam, along with the kritis of Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Annamayya and Purandaradasa have been used. The repertoire includes verses from Narayaniyam too.

Watch Darshanam Art Creations unfurl the tale of Lord Ranganatha on May 31, 6.30 p.m., at the Narada Gana Sabha. It happens to be the 17th day of the Tamil month of Vaikasi, the same day the Lord’s idol was reinstalled at Srirangam. A story of how ordinary people battled extraordinary circumstances to keep intact Ranga, their symbol of hope and freedom.

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2021 3:37:38 PM |

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