Ramayana from the eyes and ears of Kathak


Ramayana from the eyes and ears of Kathak

At the World Living Heritage Festival this Dussehra, Kala Ashram College of Performing Arts, Udaipur interpreted the epic from the lens of taal and todas.

 
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Ramayana from the eyes and ears of Kathak

At the World Living Heritage Festival this Dussehra, Kala Ashram College of Performing Arts, Udaipur interpreted the epic from the lens of taal and todas.

As the effigies of Ravana and other demons were raised and then annihilated amidst the sounds of fireworks and cheers at Gandhi Ground in Udaipur; not very far away, Vijayadashami was celebrated amidst the sounds of ghungaroos and tabla explosions in a unique way.

Ramayana from the eyes and ears of Kathak

Evil was being drowned in an unusual concoction of melody, raga, classical dance, dance-based-histrionics and an army of feet on the shores of city’s beloved lake Fatehsagar. Just as the vestiges of Ravana tumbled on a dry ground when Dussehra concluded, the strains of Shree Ram’s bhajans billowed in the air softly, wafting on the cool breeze that the lake stirred up. It was the second day of the 4thWorld Living Heritage Festival under the wings of Eternal Mewar, and the city’s own classical dance prodigies were about to spellbind the audience with a new spin to both dance and Dussehra.

Ramayana from the eyes and ears of Kathak

A composition, ingeniously crafted by Dr. Saroj Sharma – Director, Kala Ashram College of Performing Arts, Udaipur, blended the epic tale of Ramayana with meticulous details of Kathak’s todas in a visceral, seamless and fluid way. The performance was a smooth necklace of sorts – where pearls of hard-core Kathak dance, scenes of Shri Ram-Seeta winning over Ravana, and captivating strains of classical music came together in a ravishing form.

The artists left no foot, spin and space untried as they held the gaze and breaths of Udaipurities perched around the lake for a non-stop half an hour trance, and depicted an unusual blend of dance, drama and music. Heritage was, indeed, reincarnated at this one-of-a-kind festival where people woke up to the idea of not just reincarnating heritage but also making it a matter of relevance and pride for today’s generation.

As Dr. Saroj reflects, “We have tried to give a unique Kathak interpretation to Ramayana with this humble effort. Everything, from music, to choreography, to the detailed todas interspersed in this composition has been tried from scratch for this performance. It is, truly, a first-of-its kind work, and a manifestation of a unique experiment to give a new lens to look at our history and heritage. This composition marries everything together – classical music, devotional bhajan, Kathak, and theatre.”

Ramayana from the eyes and ears of Kathak

The outcome was, of course, a hypnotic performance and there was no stopping to the euphoric applause and praise that followed after the performance. The festival which also corralled legends from the world of Sufi music, Bharatnatyam and true-blue rock from 18th to 2Oth October, felicitated the team after the performance. Dr. Dinesh Khatri – Chief Managing Trustee, Kala Ashram Foundation, Udaipur, Hridaya Khatri – Assistant Artist, artists – Priyanka Bajaj, Tejaswini Rana, Kinjal Pandit, Mitula Panday, Diya Shrimali, Madhulika Nalwaya, Anusha Sharma as well as contributing members Suraj Gandharv, Madhuram Khatri, Indra Kunwar & Shreya Choubisa were basking in pride and glory when they were called on stage and cheered for this spectacular effort by the chief guests and audience.

Looks like Vijaydashami is not just about beating the evil but also about achieving a new level of ‘good’ every time.

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