Delhi-based dancer Savitha Sastry describes her latest dance production, titled Yudh — Three perspectives, One Truth, as an “edge-of-the-seat cinematic experience”.
After all, the Bharatanatyam dance-drama, which is based on the story written by Sastry’s husband AK Srikanth, boasts of music scored by Chennai-based composer Rajkumar Bharathi. The act includes classical Carnatic ragas, Chinese and Arabic sounds, and use of instruments such as the Zitar, Oudh and Chandai drums of Kerala. Plus, there is special ambient lighting by Chennai-based Victor Paulraj from Studio7, special costumes and voiceovers for each character by theatre artists from the South.
The production highlights multiple perspectives to every incident and raises questions on why innocent people suffer for no fault of theirs. Speaking about the concept behind Yudh, Sastry says, “Yudh delivers an original and hard-hitting story with the grace and narrative power of Bharatanatyam. The genesis of the story lies in a question that we often ask — why do innocent and good people sometimes suffer travesties that they seem not to deserve. And this question is answered by three very different protagonists.”
She adds that even viewers with no knowledge of Bharatanatyam will enjoy the performance, as the story has universal appeal. “The story is not based on any known religion or mythology. The biggest challenge was ‘dance-boarding’ Yudh. This is a process where the story is converted into a sequence of dances and theatricals. Dance-boarding can be difficult because a written word cannot always be depicted with the same degree of visual clarity on stage.
It’s a tight rope to make the production interesting, easy to understand, and still not lose anything that the story offers. Choreography of the dance-boarding was also a challenge here. It involves intricate subtleties, varied characters with different personas being portrayed,” adds Sastry. Yudh has been in production for almost a year and post the Mumbai performance, it will travel to Chandigarh, Bengaluru, New Delhi and Chennai.