Bharata Natyam Dance Drama on Lord Krishna

Saturday, June 16 at Selwyn College, Auckland

Venkat Raman

The ‘escapades’ of Lord Krishna as a precocious child ‘thieving’ butter from homes, a youngster playing pranks on the village maiden and as the greatest manipulator at the Battle of Kurukshetra have all been subjects of countless dance dramas, television serials, documentaries and discourses.

But these would acquire new dimensions under the skilful production and direction of Madurai R Muralidharan, who has always kept his audiences spellbound with his productions that are known for their crispy dialogues and magnificent delivery.

The latest in his production lineage is ‘Yadhava, Madhava,’ a dance drama, which will be presented by the students of Sai Natyakala and its Director & Principal Renuka Katheesan.

The three-plus hours of dance drama will be staged at 6 pm on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at Selwyn Theatre (Selwyn College) located at 204 Kohimarama Road in Kohimarama.

Describing Lord Krishna as the ‘Greatest Charmer, Bravest Warrior and Wisest Guide,’ Mr Muralidharan said that ‘Yadhava, Madhava’ will bring many unique aspects of the Lord.

“The show will take us through many of the magical episodes, including the Birth of Krishna, His playful pranks with the Gopikas, slaying of Boothaki and Kamsa, protecting the people by lifting Govardhana, helping Draupati and the Pandavas, teaching Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna and much more. The show will be filled with brilliantly choreographed dances executed by more than 50 dancers and actors,” he said.

Interesting and Instructive

Lord Krishna’s life is associated with a lot of interesting and instructive events.

One day, Balarama (Krishna’s elder brother) and other boys complained to Yasodha (Krishna’s mother) that Krishna had eaten dirt.

Worried about Krishna’s health, Yasodha rebuked him saying, “O, my naughty child! Why did you eat earth in secret?”

Krishna replied, “O mother! I did not eat earth. These boys have told a lie. Examine my mouth,” to which Yasodha said, “Open your mouth, my child!”

Krishna opened His mouth in which she saw the entire Universe of animate and inanimate things, the Sky, Cardinal Points, Mountains, Continents, Seas, the whole Earth, Air, Fire, the Sun, the Moon and the Stars, the Seven Dvipas, the Planets – everything in fact.

She was amazed, and asked, “Is this a dream or a strange vision of God’s illusion or does my child possess any inborn Yogic powers?”

Fruits and Gems

One day Krishna heard a woman shouting, “O people! Purchase fruits.”

He quickly took a handful of grain and hastened to her side to get some fruits, although he is the Lord who confers all fruits of all works and worship.

The woman filled both his hands with fruits and in return took the grain and put it in her basket. Her basket became full of gems and precious stones.

Kaliya, the Serpent

Kaliya, a serpent had been occupying River Yamuna and its banks. The serpent had poisoned the waters and dried the nearby forests.

Krishna jumped into the water to kill the serpent. He was coiled around by Kaliya.

But soon Krishna broke free and danced on the serpent’s head. Kaliya asked for forgiveness, and left the shores of Yamuna.

About Madurai Muralidharan

Madurai R Muralidaran of Chennai is a renowned dance choreographer, who has won critical acclaim for his creations in Bharata Natyam. He has over 800 compositions to his credit.

He has composed and released more than 120 audio albums exclusively for Bharata Natyam artistes worldwide. His compositions reflect innovations in Thalam (rhythm patterns), Ragam (melodies) and Themes.

Mr Muralidharan has composed songs in all 35 Thalams of Carnatic ‘Sooladhi Saptha Thalam’ system, over 120 Varnams, and Jatheeswarams in all 72 Melakarata Ragas. Creating compositions in all 72 ragas is an accomplishment that Shri Muralidharan shares with only one other, the late Dr M Balamurali Krishna.

Guinness and other Records

Mr Muralidharan has composed full Margams (repertoires) in 15 different Thalams.

His 2018 Rhythm Festival ‘Chaturvidham’ presented four Margams set to a rare Thalam.

The Festival culminated with a live class with over 320 students learning the nattuvangam and choreography for an Alarippu set to Sankeerna Jaathi Dhruva Thalam, the longest Thalam in the Carnatic system.

This class set Guinness, India Book and Asia Book records for the largest live Bharatha Natyam dance lesson.

Unique Compositions

His unique compositions include a dance depicting daily life to the soundtrack of a heartbeat, a Varnam on Sun God (Surya), a Shabdam on Jesus, a depiction of Krishna’s dance upon the five-headed snake Kalinga, Kauthuvams on Mother and Father, a Keerthanam on the Indian Independence Movement and pieces on Women’s Empowerment.

His compositions are used frequently by Bharatha Natyam dancers of different styles and from diverse regions.

Mr Muralidharan’s thematic repertoires include Sri Anjaneya, which centres on the stories of Lord Hanuman and Nayaka, exploring different roles in life for males from boyhood to adulthood. He has composed several entire Margams in rare Thalams, including ‘Ashta Dasa Margam,’ in Misra Jati Ata Thalam, Akhanda Margam, composed in Kanda Jati Ata Thalam, and Nava Dhruvam, composed in Sakeerna Jati Dhruva Thalam, the longest Thalam cycle with 29 Aksharas.

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Photo Caption:

  1. Lord Krishna preaches the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna at the Battle of Kurukshetra
  1. Madurai R Muralidharan (Supplied)
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