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Poetry in motion

The Love Song of the Dark Lord: Paintings of the Gita Govinda is a multi-arts presentation that celebrates Gita Govinda composed by poet Jaidev

The Gita Govinda, Jaidev’s celebrated work composed in Sanskrit, in the 12th century, is considered to be a seminal work of devotional poetry. It delves on the relationship of Radha and Krishna and has inspired artworks, musical compositions and pieces in Indian Classical dance forms such as Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Odissi, Manipuri, Mohiniattam and Sattriya.

Odissi dancer Sujata Mohapatra will present ashtapadis from the poem
Odissi dancer Sujata Mohapatra will present ashtapadis from the poem

To highlight the art inspired by Gita Govinda and its impact across fields, the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) has organised The Love Song of the Dark Lord: Paintings of the Gita Govinda. The event will feature a half-hour performance by Odissi dancer Sujata Mohapatra who will present her father-in-law Kelucharan Mohapatra’s choreographies from the 1960s, of ashtapadis (couplets grouped into eight). Many of the postures from the choreography are inspired from Odisha’s Pattachitra paintings.

The dance will be followed by an illustrated talk by art historian Professor BN Goswamy, who will draw attention to details of miniature paintings inspired by Gita Govinda, which interpret the text in a unique way.

Miniature paintings inspired by Gita Govinda, which interpret the poem in various ways
Miniature paintings inspired by Gita Govinda, which interpret the poem in various ways

Swapnokalpa Dasgupta, Head Programming (Dance), NCPA, who conceptualised the event informs, “The event aims to present four forms of visual and performance art: music, dance, poetry and painting, under one theme.” She adds that the event’s title is inspired by a book of the same name by Barbara Stoler Miller: “While Jaidev’s Gita Govinda is in Sanskrit, this book presents it in English. The talk is titled in English to intrigue the audience and make the text more accessible.”

Elaborating on the Odissi dance performance, Dasgupta mentions that it will feature the ashtapadi Dheera Sameeray, which depicts a conversation between Radha and her friend, describing how Krishna is waiting for her at the riverbank. The second piece, Sakhi Hey, Kesi Mathana Mudaram, shows how Radha is telling her friend about her first tryst with her Lord. “In both pieces, the dancer is playing the abhisharika nayika, a heroine who is surreptitiously going to meet her beloved. In the last piece, Kuru Yadu Nandana, Radha is a swadinabhartika nayika, a heroine who has total command over her lover,” explains Dasgupta.

On: January 9, 6.30 pm
At: NCPA, Nariman Point.
Call: 66223737

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