Bharathanatyam Adaptation of Tagore’s Chitrangada - The New Indian Express

Bharathanatyam Adaptation of Tagore’s Chitrangada

Published: 30th July 2014 07:35 AM

Last Updated: 30th July 2014 10:38 AM

CHENNAI: Almost two years ago, when actor-turned-dancer Radica Giri stumbled on Tagore’s Chitrangada, she immediately knew that it was ideal for a bharathanatyam adaptation.

Anjali Natya is a dance school in Saratoga, California, founded by Radica in the year 2000. Making her debut in Bharathiraja’s Tamil film Nizhalgal as a teenager in the 80s, she settled in the US after marriage.

One of the most successful dance dramas by Tagore, Chitrangada happens to be one of the less explored characters in bharathanatyam. Tagore had written it as a dance drama about the warrior princess of Manipura who fell in love with one of the Pandava princes, Arjun, and married him, after transforming into a beautiful princess, hiding her identity from him.  What happens when Arjun learns of her true identity forms the rest of the story.

She says, “He embellished the character of Chitrangada with the myriad emotions of a woman. Chitrangada has all the nine rasas and is perfect for presenting expressions ranging from anger, sadness and tranquility. While there are several morals that can be interpreted, this production dwells on the fact that it is the inner beauty that attracts a person.”

Set to music by Rajkumar Bharathi, Chitrangada is the dream project of Radica. The dance performance will have parts choreographed by Bragha Bessel and L Narendra.

Making several drafts of the story, she worked and reworked the production till it was condensed to 75 minutes in duration. “A story too lengthy will result in the audience losing interest. The attempt was to make it as crisp and impactful as can be – all in little more than an hour’s time,” she adds. Close to 15 artistes will perform in the show, including dance instructor and choreographer Shanmugha Sundar and a number of Radica’s students from the US. In the grandeur of well-researched costumes and visualisation, Chitrangada aims to capture the setting of Manipura in its typicality.

Radica Giri and Anjali Natya will present Tagore’s Chitrangada at The Music Academy at 6 pm on August 3. All are welcome.

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