Tagore saga comes alive on stage

Mar 01, 2013, 23:53 IST | Soma Das

Mumbai-based dance troupe Kalaangan are staging an interpretation of Rabindranath Tagore's controversial dance-drama Chandalika, which is a commentary on the caste system. It will feature the mother-daughter Kathak dancer duo of Moli Siddharth and Oindrila Das

Written way back in 1930, Bengali author and poet Rabindranath Tagore’s classic drama Chandalika, was inspired by the ancient Jataka Tales. The play is centered on Anand, a disciple of Gautam Buddha who encounters Prakriti, a young low-caste girl and preaches the idea of equality of human beings to her.

The mother-daughter duo of Moli Siddharth and Oindrila Das at an earlier Kathak performance

Although hope and redemption are the predominant themes of the play, the plot thickens when Prakriti falls in love with the acetic Anand. She tries to forcibly entrap him through her mother’s practice of black magic. After a series of trials and tribulations, Prakriti and her mother repent and seek forgiveness from Anand who welcomes them into the fold of Buddhism.

The seminal play will now be recreated on stage by the mother-daughter duo of Kathak dancers Moli Siddharth and Oindrila Das from the Mumbai-based dance school Kalaangan. Chandalika belongs to the unique Rabindra Nritya style, an original Tagore invention that amalgamates all classical dance forms and stresses on expressions. The play will be preceded by a Kathak recital by students of the academy.

Speaking about the dance drama, Moli says, “Chandalika is a universal story about the immense hardships that certain sections of society have been facing through centuries of being branded as untouchables. The message of equality makes the theme timeless.”

The duo would be performing to pre-recorded music, a never-before-tried feature. Moli says that the actual process of recording as well as composing the music were quite challenging and time consuming, but what made the journey easier was the mother-daughter’s chemistry. “Time management was optimum, and our compatibility was also very high as we understood each other very well.” Moli states that she has rendered the ballet through her own unique interpretation and the last year “has been a combination of blood, sweat, tears and a lot of laughs”.

On Today, 7.30 pm; at Nehru Centre, Worli; Call 24964676 Tickets Rs 100; Available At Nehru Centre. 

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