Bengaluru: Six episodes of Rukmini Devi Arundale’s Ramayana will be presented in the city by the director of Kalakshetra, Priyadarshini Govind, and her team.

Rukmini Devi Arundale was an Indian classical dancer and founder of Kalakshetra Foundation in Chennai, who choreographed the Ramayana series adapted from Valmiki Ramayan. This six-part Ramayana is said to be Rukmini Devi’s most endearing contribution to the world. She chose three stalwarts, Venkatachala Shastri, Adi Narayana Sharma and Peria Sharada to compile lyrics from the Valmiki Ramayana and she got Mysore Vasudevacharya and his grandson Rajaram, both musical greats, to arrange the music.
Chameri Devi Dasi, Culutral Coordinator, ISKCON says, “She has chorepgraphed about 26 dance dramas. The six-episode Ramayana is one among them. Every performance includes every aspect of a production like stage lighting, props and costumes.” Priyadarshini Govind adds, “The technology was not so advanced back then. It took her 14 years to complete the entire choreography. She presented the first episode in 1956. Subsequently, she completed each episode. We have kept the same music, props and costumes in the performance.”

Rukmini Devi’s sense of aesthetics can be seen in her choice of colours and costume styles, use of flowers and hair dresses for different characters. She introduced concepts such as emoting during nritta passage or adding a short swara passage with steps in between the drama. These were done delicately so as to not break the mood. 

The six episodes include Sita Swayamvaram, Sri Ramam Vanagamanam, Paduka Pattabhishekam, Sabari Moksham, Choodamani Pradanam and Maha Pattabhishekam. Each episode lasts for about two and a half hours. Chameri Devi Dasi says, “This is the second time, kalakshetra will be performing here at Iskcon. The alumni had performed earlier. But this time, the performance will have fresh batch of students. People can come and see the young talent glorifying the Lord which keeps with the philosophy that our temple propagates.”
ramayana series
The drama series was presented earlier at Delhi and Chennai. With a cast and crew of fifty five that includes faculty, students and alumni, Priyadarshini assures to present a truly stunning six tales. “All the music and dance maestros and every body who has resonance with Ramayan can come and experience. The beauty of Ramayana is that every one who comes to watch gets an experience to relive the epic,” she says. However, Priyadarshini will not be performing. Ask if she misses the stage, she says, “I enjoy what I do now.” But she hopes to perform again soon.   

A graduate in commerce from the University of Madras, Chennai, Priyadarshini holds a diploma in Mass Communication but she chose dance. “Dance has always been a part of my life. So, making this decision came naturally to me.” She has also trained in Kalaripayattu. She adds, “kalaripayattu does not have an obvious role in dance. Each dancer has his own understanding and learning how to use his body. I enjoy kalaripayattu for its beauty of movement.”

Do not miss the Ramayana series, starting from September 25 till September 30 at Iskcon, Hare Krishna Hill, Bengaluru.

Source: The New Indian Express      Dated: Sep 24, 2016