Within minutes of setting foot to the divine steps of lord Rama, to rehearse for her upcoming show Rama Charitham, Bharatanatyam dancer Mamatha Karanth slips into a state of trance.
Utterly consumed by lord Rama’s thoughts, she closes her eyes and dances away. Then abruptly, she opens her eyes and wakes up to reality. “I am sorry,” she whispers. “This is not just dance for me. It’s a practise that keeps me alive,” she says with a soft smile.
The recital will showcase all those characters who highlight lord Rama’s many qualities. For instance Manthara, who was the reason for his vanvaas (exile); Guha his staunch follower who never left his side; Bharata his brother, who displayed extreme love towards him; Shurpanakha, who was instrumental in Sita’s abduction; Laksham, who steadfastly followed Rama; Hanuman, Rama’s ultimate devotee, and Sugreeva, a reliable friend. “I have chosen Maharaja Swathi Thirunal’s Krithi Bhavayami Raghu Ramam, which has six paragraphs that cover all the khandas (chapters) of his life,” she says.
Karanth’s decision to essay the lord’s life came after days of consideration. The only way she can do justice to any performance is if she’s completely convinced about the character or the story’s merit. In this case, she couldn’t have been more confident about playing him. “The ultimate calmness that he stands for and the principles of dharma that he always upheld are the most fascinating aspects of his personality. That they stood unchanged in ever circumstance was even more awe-inspiring for her. “Unfortunately no part of my own psyche is calm, but its a goal to be achieved certainly,” she says.
The last few years have been very demanding for the dancer,
but with the hitches also came the great learning. Her dance taught her patience and tolerance. It gave her body grace. It has also improved her concentration, alertness and steadiness. “In my view, dance is nothing but a divine form of yoga. Along with good physical exercise, it gives you supreme mental happiness. This is the closest I will ever come to experiencing the lord,” she smiles.
If not a dancer, you would be.
A fashion designer
Last movie you enjoyed.
Kannada movie called Oggarane
Most forgetful about.
Place of your dreams.
Most precious in your wardrobe.
My dresses, jewels
A thing you’d like to thank your parents for most.
To let me pursue dance in spite of belonging to an orthodox family.