Krishna is back and this time around, the annual dance drama by Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra doesn’t portray the usual well-known episodes from Krishna’s life. In sead, it brings about aspects that aren’t talked much about. The 41st edition is being specially presented for Janmashtami and comes as a reminder of all that Krishna stands for.
The protagonist of the play, Raj Kumar Sharma, believes he has evolved a lot in the last few days of rehearsals. Repeatedly playing chapters from Krishna’s life has reiterated the quintessence of the deity in ways that Sharma believes he has come to embody the lord’s characteristics.
“Along with my personal grown, the play has also evolved considerably. It has moved beyond just being his leela consisting of gopis, butter stealing and romance with Radha, to him being a statesman,” says Sharma.
Of the lesser-known aspects that the drama presents, the episode of Gandhari’s curse—where a bitter Gandhari, after the death of all her 100 sons, curses Krishna—is a prominent one. Not many people know what happened to Krishna after Mahabharata, and this episode shows that. Other episodes that find prominence are those featuring Bhishma, Jarasandha, Shishupal, Karna and Duryodhana, among others.
In the middle of planning and preparing, moments of stress tend to dribble in. Since Sharma has also choreographed the ballet with cultural impresario Shobha Deepak Singh, the stakes are high for him. “I’m always thinking about the next scene. Are the performers ready? Will the costumes look fine? Will the sound and light work properly?” he says. “I know a thousand eyes are watching me and I have to make sure I have their full attention at all times. Afterall they’ve come all the way to see us. That’s always been a concern for me when I perform.”
Ten minutes before the show, you won’t see Sharma around. He stops meeting anybody.
He then sits comfortably in his chair and gradually allows himself to slip into a meditative state where all he can feel is a sense of profound calm. In just a few minutes, a slight smile starts to surface on his face. That tells him he is ready for stage.
Till August 15, at 6.30 pm, at Kamani Auditorium, 1 Copernicus Marg.