Thursday 4 August 2016

Simplicity sans glitz has Meera walking into every heart - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

It is precisely because the story of Rajasthani Saint poetess Meera is so close to the heart of most Indians that visualizing any aspect of it through performing art poses more challenges in avoiding a sense of déjà vu and there is always the problem of keeping free from falling into mushy sentimentality or being tempted to veer towards ornate stage décor, which in trying to catch the royal trappings of Meera's aristocratic lineage, could dwarf and lose the saintly side  totally. Which is why one applauds the stark simplicity of ‘Meera - the soul divine’ as conceived and choreographed by Chitra Visweswaran for her students of the repertory of Chidambaram Academy of Performing Arts, as part of the fund raising effort for ‘Aim for Seva,’ the movement launched in 2000 by late Swami Dayanand Saraswati - thinker, philosopher, teacher and one of the tireless social workers ceaselessly striving to better the lot of India's deprived children.
‘Meera - the soul divine’ premiered at Chennai’s Music Academy auditorium on July 30, 2016, held the packed auditorium spellbound. Doing away with all stage trappings, Chitra Visweswaran opted for starkly bare performance space, wherein an idol of Krishna and a white line drawing of a temple etched on the black back curtain were the only properties, leaving the whole story to be told by the dancers’ performances alone. The treatment steered clear of a historical narration, putting the emphasis instead on the spiritual journey of  a royal princess of Rajasthan, who defying the time worn conventions of royalty and society dared to follow the call of her heart engaging in a life long search to become one with her desired– Krishna.

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