Wednesday 3 April 2024

Anita's Andal - Dance Matters: Column by Ashish Mohan Khokar

Andal is a five lettered word, so is Anita. Andal mystified, Anita demystified. Andal left a mark for aeons; Anita has left a mark by recreating Andal for the modern era. Naachiyar Next is one production that'd go down in history of Andal lore, as one of the handsomest offering in recent times. Anita Ratnam has also made it accessible to the rest of India. Southern traditions are steeped in these tales but for the rest of India, this is a good entry point to a rarefied and layered culture.

It is also accessible as Anita uses English to communicate. So the story and its core content reaches all. That Delhi audiences, who often know very little of the rest of India, connected easily shows Anita succeeded in making a very, very Tamil cultural icon reach all. The audience gave Anita Ratnam and team a real, long standing ovation proving yet again that Delhi may be dili-tante in deeper cultural moorings - especially of southern traditions - but it still retains its heart by giving generous claps all through the 70 minute rendition of the life and times of Godha, as Andal was also known. 

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