Krishna Katha is perhaps one of the most unique productions that renowned Odissi dancer Sonal Mansingh has choreographed. The reason: Less on dance, it focuses more on narrative and singing.
The choreography was introduced in 2009 and after being performed in several cities including Ahmedabad, Chennai and Jaipur, Katha will be performed in Mumbai today. “This performance is in an entirely different format,” discloses Mansingh, who is also proficient in other dance forms including Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi and Chhau.
When quizzed about why she chose to perform this piece, she replies, “I have never decided anything consciously. It just happened. ” Probe further and she admits that the seeds of the performance were laid a few years back when she was having dinner with close friends and they requested her to sing. “I sing Meera and Kabir bhajans as well as film songs.
They told me they wanted me to do a bhajan sandhya (an entire evening of bhajans). Since Janmashtami was close by, I decided let me call Krishna,” she avers. That was how Krishna Katha was born, a two and a half hour performance giving the audience a glimpse into the life of Lord Krishna.
“I narrate and sing, and I can’t help standing up and dancing to some of the songs. It is a visual performance where the narration and songs are punctuated with abhinaya (expressions),” informs the66-year-old dancer.
Ask her about her special connect with the Lord and she says, “Krishna is so close. He is a human, so divine; playful, endearing and a brilliant dancer.
How can you escape him?,” she asks, the devotion in her eyes and voice are evident. Apart from Krishna Katha, she will also be performing a special piece for Lord Ganesha, today. This is her 51st year on stage and she admits that she has thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. “I am trying to learn more even now. There are times when you realise it is a bottomless pit and there are a few pearls from it that have been granted to you,” she adds.