The last time I performed at one end of Mumbai [Shanmukhananda at Sion], and this time, I am all the way at the other end,” Vani Ganpathy laughs, as she gears up to perform her latest production, Dwaaram, at the National Centre for Performing Arts at Nariman Point on March 17.

Bharatanatyam dancers Vani Ganpathy and Satyanarayan Raju perform Dwaaram
Bharatanatyam dancers Vani Ganpathy and Satyanarayan Raju perform Dwaaram

Dwaaram is an autobiography of a door, tracing man’s journey from the world of maya (illusion) to the spiritual. “It is a musical dance theatre dual performance with Satyanarayan Raju,” says the Bengaluru-based Bharatanatyam dancer, who started dancing at the age of four and performed her arangetam at seven. She now runs her dance academy, Sanchari.

“We play a lot of characters, who pass through various doors of life – like the royal door, fortress etc. For example, the door of the house depicts the man-woman relationship and their squabbles, fights, making-up, longing, waiting and the passion etween two people. The idea is – what if the door could speak?” adds Ganpathy.

In the piece, the characters go through Panchamahadwarams, namely Raja Dwaram, the door of a palace; Veera Dwaram, the door of the fort; Gruha Dwaram, the door of the humble abode or dwelling; Deva Dwaram, the door of the temple; Atma Dwaram, the door of the soul, the inner door.

The 100-minute piece uses English, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Sanskrit.

The music score is by DS Srivatsa. “The concept came to my mind six years ago and I started working on it at the end of 2013. Satya came on board as a choreographer first. Dwaaram is not only for connoisseurs but the layman, and is not a typical margam repertoire. It expresses the navrasa, the nine emotions including joy, sorrow, humour, romance, evotion and anger. We have worked in-depth on developing the characters, and the conversation between two people is seen through movement and expression. It is not directed at a niche audience, but the aam janta. It is simple, interesting, and is as good as watching theatre or cinema. One doesn’t need to stress on understanding the dialogues,” says Vani, whose work is supported by Monica Lakhmana foundation that works towards women empowerment.