Real Navaratri: The art form of small things

Rasa Loka, a style of still theatre with miniature art, is performed every year during Navaratri

Published: 03rd October 2013 10:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd October 2013 10:34 AM   |  A+A-

While Mysore is preparing for the famous Dussehra procession, Bangalore too has begun its preparations starting with idol makers who have had their hands full. While some are set to create the fearful goddess with clay, there are others who are readying for the festival to share a tale from the Devi Mahatmyam and other legends or scriptures.

Rasa Loka, a form of 'still theatre' at Bimba The Art Hut, Basavanagudi is one such platform. With three shows a day from October 5 to 14, spanning the entire 10-day Navaratri festival, 'the depiction of each moment' is the creation of a single artist. "There is no written script, but you have the framework, the idea that came to you earlier like a flickering light in a dark jungle that you have to reach, but the stories themselves are etched into our psyches," says co-founder of Bimba, Deepika Dorai. "I don't know when I became involved with art because I was born into it," says the Bharatnatyam dancer.

At Deepika's house in Malleswaram, the dolls were displayed year after year, and  she assisted with the set up till seven years ago. "I just wanted to share it with the rest of the world, so though I had the skeleton ready, I brought in the experience of the theatrical element," says Deepika. So the artist who 'creates the moment' makes the dolls from scratch. "They now become more than just dolls - they become characters," she states, adding that other processes involved are making the costume and jewellery as well as getting together the backdrop.

Rasa Loka was recognised by Indian Council for Cultural Relations last year and apparently draws audiences from across the globe. "There are many who tell us that the Rasa Loka is the real Navaratri," says Deepak, Deepika's husband.

The two chosen moments for this Dussehra are 'Shankaracharya - A sacred throw of dice' by Uma Nagaraj and 'Garudagamana - A trumpeting surrender' by Deepika. "The first is an encounter of the great sage with Meenakshi in Madurai, where he invites the goddess to a game of dice and the Srichakra is condensed in the process to a two dimensional image from its original 3-d form. And the second retells an incident when Maha Vishnu comes down to earth, seated on his vahan, Garuda," explains Deepika.

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