Mythological epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, with their many characters, twists and turns and intricate plotlines, have often provided inspiration for artistes. In a similar vein, the Bangalore-based Bharatanatyam dancer, Sathyanarayana Raju will perform Rama Katha. The solo dance drama elaborates on the various characters that have impacted and become an integral part of the life of Lord Rama.
Dance sequences from Rama Katha performed by Sathyanarayana Raju
The performance has been conceptualised by Usha RK with choreography by Sathyanarayana Raju while music coordination is by DS Srivatsa.
Usha RK elaborates on the event, “Rama Katha endeavours to juxtapose various characters that are integral and intrinsic to the life of Rama, those who were instrumental in the turn of events in his life. While the Ramayana has been attempted and performed extensively, bringing the reactions or repercussions of situations from the perspective of the hero was the idea (here).”
One of the highlights of the event is that Sathyanarayana will essay various characters including Kousalya, Dasharatha, Sita, the boatman Khewat and the devotee Sabari who spent a lifetime waiting for Rama as well as Hanuman and Ravana.
Usha adds that the production required plenty of research including reading of various versions of Ramayana compositions by Tulsidas, Thayagaraja and Purandaradasa, each of which were included in this dance drama. The Valmiki Ramayana and Ram Charitra Manas were referred to as well. Singer DS Srivatsa has also penned some lyrics for the production.
While the topic and the source material may seem challenging, Sathyanarayana choreographed and put the production together within a short span of a month.
Sathyanarayana recalls these challenges, “The main task was to shift from character to character, swiftly and convincingly. To give a character its true feel, you have to internalise it completely. The show is emotionally demanding such that it takes nearly a week (after the performance) to relax entirely, and get all the characters out of your head.”
Usha admits, “It was a challenge for Sathyanarayana to perform each character with conviction and bring out every characteristic of each character.”
Rama Katha has been performed thrice in Bangalore, once in Delhi and now in Mumbai.
On: June 19, 7 pm onwards
At: National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), NCPA Marg, Nariman Point.