BENGALURU: I was toying with the idea of using one of world’s famous tales other than the ones which are prevalent in Odissi. We just tried the Kaa scene – the snake from Jungle Book – and it came out very well,” said Devjani Sen, who has choreographed an adaptation of the Jungle Book into her Odissi dance and is about to perform the sequence at Bengaluru International Centre on July 28.
According to her, the story is all about child safety as it depicts Mowgli’s growth with the animals in the forests. She hopes that her audience understands the merging of tradition with a modern form of art in both dance and music. “The idea behind this play was to use this dance form to depict a relatively modern story and also to bring the issue of child safety in the forefront,” added Sen, who has been living in the city for more than 15 years now.
The artistic director of Odissi dance centre, Devjani Sen has been a dancer since she was eight. Being a student of the late Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, who was one of the prominent Odissi figures in the ’80s, she learnt the dance form from him while she was in school. She has a good grasp on the intricacies of Bharatanatyam, Kathakali and Manipuri and now teaches Odissi to more than 45 students.
The Jungle Book dance sequence was performed last year at ADA Ragamandira, which became a crowd favourite. She has decided to perform it again with a blend of Odissi music and modern musical influence. Sen and her team of 15 have been rehearsing for more than two months now, and most of them are either students, working professionals or engineers.
She has been performing the art for years now, and Bengaluru has admired her work and brought her into attention. She has also seen the excitement among children and adults for her show because Jungle book has a universal appeal.