Saturday, February 09, 2013

Shobana's Krishna

Shobana performed her dance musical Krishna at Singapore's Esplanade theatre yesterday & I quite enjoyed the show. It's not easy to make an age-old dance form like Bharatnatyam current & also accessible to the man-on-the-street. I cringed at times at the classical dance to Bollywood tunes; it felt wrong. But I get the idea & I get what she was trying to do. Having said that, the most beautiful & captivating part of the musical, for me at least, was the traditionally choreographed dance of Krishna & the gopikas. It was exuberant & full of soul & a joy to watch. There were no translated English dialogues or dhinkchak beats - it's just dance the way it's supposed to be.

Shobana has an amazing stage presence. My eyes were on her the whole time she was on stage. She did have to give up on her feminine charm as she played the male character of Krishna, and while I missed her feminine grace in her dance I won't hold that against her. I was still watching her :)

I can't say I'm a fan of the format - the bastardisation of a classical dance form. But I didn't hate it either. The Bhagwad-Gita retold in 5 mins was much too rushed though for a play that meant to explain Krishna's philosophy. But then again, most traditional dance forms love Krishna more as a poster-boy for the gopikas than as the advisor & philosopher to Arjun. That's how he's remembered best in Bharatnatyam.

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