BENGALURU: If dance is a language in itself, then Malavika Sarrukai is poetry in motion. And over 50 years after she began performing on stage, the Bharatanatyam dancer still finds something new to present to her fans. This time, it’s a solo dance creation inspired by the Bhagavad Gita, a performance that has a “strong masculine energy,” she says.
“I am depicting two main male characters – Arjuna and Lord Krishna. Apart from them, an army of male characters is being represented, and so it is very different from what I have done in my earlier pieces,” says Sarrukai.
Titled The Battle Within, the piece is about “all kind emotions” that make Bhagavad Gita relevant in every age, explains the 60-year-old dancer, who started dancing at the age of 7. Everyone in the audience will be able to relate to it, she says, adding, “There are so many emotions, like conflict, revenge, fear, rage, greed, and vulnerability, depicted in this performance. It’s like a battle within a battle. It’s a battle between positive energies and negative energies. That’s how Bhagavad Gita becomes universally relatable.”
The Padma Shri awardee has been fascinated by the scripture right from her childhood. But it took her some time to come up with a choreography on it. “This one, in particular, was a long process.” she recalls. “It started many years ago, when my mother used to read Bhagavad Gita to me, and, over a period of time, it had its influence on me. When a project proposal came up to do a piece on the Gita, initially I had questions. However, I slowly moved into it,” she adds.
For the dancer, who hails from Tamil Nadu, Bengaluru is a like a second home. “Bengaluru audience has been very responsive, and that’s why we come back time and again. The audience here is open to see different kind of performances,” says Sarrukai, who has always considered dance as life, and choreography as her “method to clarity”. Her advice to the artistes who want to choreograph or create their own art form is that they must know the subject really well. “Choreography or interpretation is a slow process. It does not happen overnight. You have to internalise the work and live with it,” she says. “I have done this for 50 years. A lot of intuition and imagination goes into it.”
The show will be performed on November 2 at 7pm at Chowdiah Memorial Hall.