Literary masterpiece gets to centre stage

‘Sivagamiyin Sabadham’ in Auckland on June 28

Venkat Raman

Lovers of Tamil literature in general and Bharata Natyam enthusiasts in particular, would be thrilled to know that one of the greatest masterpieces of all times will be performed in Auckland later this month.

‘Sivagamiyin Sabadham,’ which quadrupled the circulation of Tamil weekly magazine Kalki in the late 1940s has taken the dance form, thanks to the creative proficiency of Madurai R Muralidharan, a dance master, dancer, producer, composer and director of international recognition.

The massive production, which has had rave reviews in India and US, is being brought to New Zealand by Renuka Ketheesan, Principal and Director of the Auckland based Sri Sai Natyalaya. A number of her students are performing in this production, scheduled to be held on Saturday, June 28 at 630 pm at Dorothy Winstone Centre, Auckland Girls Grammar School.

Tickets priced at $25 (VIP), $20 (Adults) and $15 (Children) are now on sale.

With impressive settings, special effects and music, the dance drama is expected to have a wide appeal among the Tamil speaking population and others who enjoy Bharata Natyam.

Kingdom revisited

Kalki Krishnamurthy brought a piece of history into his writings with ‘Sivagamiyin Sabatham,’ winning in the process the ‘Sahitya Academy Award.’ Set in the Seventh Century South India, it narrates the struggle for supremacy between Chalukya Emperor Pulikesi II and the Pallava Emperor Mahendra Varman and by the latter’s son Narasimha Varman.

The story commences with Pulikesi invading Kanchi, the capital of the Pallava Kingdom. The objective of the incursion was to seize power from Mahendra Varman, who is in the process of making his Kingdom the architectural capital of the world.

It was not to be a simple and easy conquest. A number of other characters come into play, the most important of who are Narasimha Varman, the Crown Prince of the Pallava Kingdom, the beautiful dancer Sivagami and her sculptor-father Aayanar. There are others who wield their influence. They are Chalukya loyalist Naganandi Bikshu, the young and brave Pallava Army Commander Paranjyothi, the mysterious Vajrabahu, Pallava spies Shatrughan and Gundodharan.

According to The Hindu, ‘Sivagamiyin Sabadham’ is a crisp production with excellent production values, no lag in energy, a bit filmy and melodramatic, yet riveting.

“The detailed musical score and the state-of-the-art techniques combined to translate an absorbing Tamil classic into an engrossing and well-finished dance-drama.”

Mr Muralidharan is well known to the New Zealand audience. His earlier production, Silappathikaram, performed in Auckland on April 18, 2009 was noted for its true translation of an epic into art form. Based on its success the forthcoming dance drama is awaited with high expectations.

As well as an effective producer and choreographer, Mr Muralidharan is a successful music composer with more than 120 albums to his credit. His composition of Pushpanjali, Alarippu, Jathiswaram, Mallari, Varnam and Thillana in all the 35 Thalams and Jathiswarams in all 72 Melakartha raghas is unprecedented in Bharatha Natyam.

His Nrithyakshethra Dance Academy identifies talents and passion for dance, coaching young students to become professional dancers.

A brilliant chapter from Indian history

What: Sivagamiyin Sabatham

By Whom: Madurai Muralidharan

Presented by: Students of Sri Sai Natyalaya, Auckland

Where: Dorothy Winstone Centre, Auckland Girls Grammar School

Howe Street, Newton, Auckland

When: Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 630 pm

Tickets: $25 (VIP), $20 (Adults), Children $15

Contact: Renuka Ketheesan on (09) 5219428 or 021-1374929 or 021-739879

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