Love is the lifeblood of the Gurudev’s songs — be it love for nature, for human beings or for what lies beyond, feels Preeta Mathur, who runs Ank Theatre along with husband Dinesh Thakur. To highlight this love, which forms the fabric of Rabindranath Tagore’s songs, and understand the changing expressions of his journey, Mathur decided that these facets should be presented to people in a way they can understand. Ravindranjali, which premieres in the city this Friday, highlight’s Tagore’s journey through his poetry translated in Hindi along with songs and dances.
“This is something that Ank had never done before,” says Mathur, who put together the concept for the play. The idea for the play emerged about a year ago when Hindi poet Prayag Shukla, presented his translations of Tagore’s poems in Hindi. “He has translated them in two books and when I was reading them I realised they are so beautiful and I told Dineshji I wanted to do a play on it,” recounts Mathur. What began as an idea, took a while to fructify and they started rehearsals of the play in May.
The play has 16 poems of Tagore translated in Hindi presented with live music, song and dance. “Although exciting and new, it was not an easy production to coordinate the different elements of song, dance and poetry,” admits Thakur, the director of Ravindranjali. “The notes, the sur of the songs and poetry were different,” he fills in.
Besides it was also about combining the notes to the steps of the dance presented by Tanushree Gupta. Odissi, Bengali folk and even a few ballet moves have been incorporated to accompany some of the poems and songs. “We have strung together live singing, poetry, narration and dance,” says Mathur adding, “The play is an attempt to trace Tagore’s journey from his love for nature to his love for human beings and to striving for the beyond.” She adds that the attraction to natural beauty, which was so predominant in all his creations, led him to the path of seeking what is beyond.
“He felt that there is something beyond the senses and that was what he was seeking. The play looks at his surrender to the beyond,” says Mathur. For her husband, the play was a powerful experience. “Ravindranjali, for me, has been all about love,” adds Thakur.