CHENNAI: Enthralling, impressive, fantabulous – well, adjectives may not suffice to explain this dance drama. An amazing dance recital by the students of Cleveland Cultural Alliance coupled with reverberating background music composed by one of India’s famed Carnatic singers Bombay Jayashri Ramnath, did nothing more than leaving the audience rapt on Monday, engrossing each one in the riveting journey a cloud undertakes. Based on Kalidasa’s 5th century classic poem Meghadutam, the operatic ballet took one along with the megha’s journey, all the way from Central India to Alaka at Mount Kailasa in the Himalayas.The dance drama was organised by AIM for Seva, one of India’s leading charities working towards educating children in rural India and was choreographed by Shijith Nambiar and Parvathy Menon.
Thunder, lightning, downpour – the drama brings each one with special effects, ensuring that the audience experience every bit of the presentation. Yak a, a subject of King Kubera, faces exile for having ignored his duties. He’s in Central India and his longing for his wife, who resides in Alaka in Northern India, makes him feel miserable. He is powerless now and unable to control his emotions. He cries and the tears he sheds transform into an ocean.
And then, we have the presentation beautifully portraying Purvamegha (Part 1 of the poem), where Yak a finally convinces a cloud to carry a message conveying his existence in Central India, to his wife upwards in the North, all the way to the scenic Alaka.
The recital is then completely focused on to how the cloud turned messenger, referred to as ‘ghana megha.’ Shijit Nambiar plays the pivotal role, that of the harbinger. With breathtaking dance movements, expressive eyes and facial expressions, Shijit leaves the audience awestruck and with each dance step of his, there follow applauses from the gathering. The Uttaramegha is the second part in the poem which deals with the expedition of the cloud once it reaches northern India.
Finally, it’s time to rejoice as the bank of cloud ultimately reaches Alaka and delivers the message. Thunder and lightning, outburst again and the performance ends on an emotional note.