QUEEN’S ROAD: Anamika -- A Search For Krishna, a collaborative performance across three dance forms, looks for meaning in life and love.
“This is an attempt to look at traditional art forms — Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Odissi — filtered by today’s perspective. So a modern woman asks herself what Krishna means to her while the dancers convey what three mythological characters feel for him,” says Odissi dancer Meghna Das, who has conceptualised and scripted the production, and will perform the Odissi bit choreographed by her guru and mother Sahana Das.
Preethi Bharadwaj will perform the Bharatanatyam bits that she has choreographed. The Kathak parts have been choreographed by dancer Pooja Pant’s guru.
Theatre artiste Ashiqa Salvan will play the fourth character, a modern woman who helps us relate to some of the experiences of these three women who love Krishna.
“This is a woman who does not belong to any particular religion, a regular person who finds points in these experiences that she relates to because they are universal.
It could be love or the conflict that one experiences while making decisions relating to children. So there are things she has in common with and things that are different about their experiences. She’s called Anamika because I wanted her to be as undefined as possible,” Meghna says.
She has been mulling over the idea that has taken the shape of Anamika for a couple of years now. But she approached her co-performers five months ago and they have been at it ever since.
“I wanted dance forms from different parts of the country, and we’ve watched each other perform. Ashiqa, I’ve just watched from afar as a theatre artiste, but she was happy to work with me on Anamika when I asked her,” says Meghna, who began learning Odissi, when she was four, from her mother.
For Ashiqa, who has been very active on the theatre scene for the past five years, working with dancers is a first. “So far, I’ve only been working with Meghna. From today, we’ll start putting everything together, and I’m looking forward to it,” she says.
As of now, she doesn’t feel that her role in the production is too different from a role she would play in a theatre performance.
“I do play a character — I have monologues that give a contemporary context to the dance performances. But I still look at it as a dance performance,” she says.
As she wanted to retain the purity of each of the forms, most of the production comprises individual pieces. “But it is a production so they are performed as a whole, and we have all worked on one piece together,” she says.
Meghna mentions cynicism as one of her inspirations. “It (the idea) stemmed from supreme negativity. Six-year-olds are being killed over political issues, there are so many rapes or even natural calamities,” she says. So when she read Bhakti poetry or literature, she found inspiration, and as Meghna sees it, Krishna is the search for meaning, faith, an abstract thing that’s not necessarily structured, named or idolised. “It could be family, it could be work, whatever makes you want to get up in the morning because it’s so easy not to be happy,” she expresses.
Anamika at Alliance Francaise Bangalore, Vasanthnagar on February 5 at 7 pm. Tickets are available on Indian Stage and at Desserted (opposite Mount Carmel College)