BENGALURU: Bringing cinematic brilliance on stage, city-based Kathak dancer Joann Rasquinha’s upcoming dance show titled Jashn pays tribute to the depiction of the dance form in Indian cinema. “We are starting from the era of 1959 when ‘talkie films’ began. We are beginning with Kohinoor’s Madhuban Mein Radhika Nache Re and coming to the current era,” explains Rasquinha.
In the ’80s, they picked In Aankhon Ki Masti Mein from the movie Umrao Jaan, in which the legendary actor Rekha plays the titular character. “Then we come to a new era when Madhuri Dixit did a Kathak performance in Dil To Pagal Hai and Devdas, also touching upon the South Indian film industry, where Kamal Haasan performed Kathak in Vishwaroopam. There is also Mohe Rang Do Lal from Bajirao Mastani,” Rasquinha adds.
Keeping things up to date, there is also a special tribute to popular songs on social media. “When we come to the finale of the performance, we are paying tribute to the current day and age. We believe art is consumed a lot through social media. We are doing a piece on the songs that got popular on the internet,” she says.
The highlight of the show is going to be the finale where 100 Kathak dancers will be performing at the same time. While it sounds like a herculean task to fit 100 dancers on stage, Rasquinha says, “Last year we were on the same stage and we were 68 of us. So this time for the finale, we are taking the chance of being 100 on stage. We will not know it till we do it. If you make the formation right, understand when to enter the stage, and the right placement, you will be able to see each one even at the back. So this is an art. Many of the participants are coming from different countries like UAE, and cities like Kolkata and Mumbai.”
With Rasquinha also being a disciple of the late Pandit Birju Maharaj, the show plays tribute to him and his works. “I want to pay tribute to him and his work, including for Vishwaroopam for which he received the National Award. We are also dancing to Chalte Chalte from the movie Pakeezah, which was choreographed by his uncle Lachhu Maharaj. In a way it’s a tribute to his family,” she adds.
(Jashn will be staged on Feb 3, 6pm at CMRIT Auditorium, Brookefield)