Aarti Bajaj and her Team to perform later this year
Following its phenomenal success in Auckland, ‘Meera,’ the legendary 16th Century Princess-turned ascetic, will arrive in Wellington later this year.
Aarti Bajaj, Producer and Director of the Show, who heads the Gold Coast-based Wild Dreamer Productions, said that ‘Meera’ will go on stage, and that details of the event including dates and venue will be announced shortly.
A complement of 200 cast and crew will participate in presenting the spectacle in the Capital, as they did at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland from May 31 to June 2, 2019.
More than six months in the making, ‘Meera’ in Auckland performed farther than its promise, with a multinational, multicultural cast and crew, including people of South Asian, East Asia, European and Maori origin.
As a Romantic story, it brought forth the emotions of a mortal Royal woman in love with an immortal Lord Krishna, enjoying ‘His proximity,’ while suffering the pain inflicted by her own family.
As a production, ‘Meera’ achieved something unique- a combination of Indian classical dances, hip hop, trapeze and even the time-honoured Middle Eastern Belly Dancing.
The audio-visual effects were astounding, while a team of experts in marketing, photography, videography, logistics, back office support and many others, worked tirelessly to achieve what someone had said would be ‘Mission Impossible.’
But turning the impossible is the wont of Aarti and ‘Meera’ is an outstanding example.
The Princess who wouldn’t be
Aarti as ‘Meera’ proved that she is a volcano of talent. She was at once a joyous Princess, enjoying the comforts of life but even as a child, envisions Krishna (yes, the Lord, an Avatar of Vishnu, a prankster and the God that delivered the Bhagavad Geeta to the world) as her true lover, her master and her husband.
Compelled to marry Bhojraj, another member of a Royal Clan, she desists from his touch and advances, although entirely moral and legal. She pleads with him to understand her- “Krishna is my true love. How can I be your wife, when I am already His?”
You may find the logic strange but if you were to read history from East and West, you would reckon what love does to people. And that Divine Love is even stranger than fiction.
Love should be overt
The life of Meera, you would say, was one of unwanted misery; she could have loved Krishna in secrecy, after all, He cannot be seen in the human form; and she could have led a stately life with all the regency and luxury attached to it.
But honesty to self and to everyone else was the trait of Meera. The end is something that will touch your heart.
Paul Menezes as ‘Adult’ Krishna brought stature to the role even as sat like a statue in much of the play; he at once won your attention with his untold words of ‘Meera, I am always here, why worry?’ He in fact, saves Meera from the poisonous designs of sister-in-law Uda Bhai (superbly played by Marianne Infante) and brother-in-law Vikram Singh (somewhat convincing portrayal by Rishab Kapoor).
Superb actors and dancers
Barbara Presita and Rajesh Ranjith as the Narrators, were the connecting links between the past and the present- of little and adult Meera. Zara Leinster as Teenage Meera was a delight to behold and so were Dylan Thuraisingham (Prince Bhojraj), Joseph Tarei (King Rao Duda, Meera’s Grandfather) and many others.
Aarti has put together dancers adept in Bharata Natyam, Kathak, Ballet, Indian Folk, Jazz, Wild Percussion and Contemporary formats of dances and Pole and Belly Dancers who blend well with the theme of Meera.
The performance of the Maori troupe at the end was a crown in the jewel.
General Shagun Choudhary
This Review will not be complete without an honourable mention of Shagun Choudhary, who, as the New Zealand Producer, was the Achiever of what would have been Mission Impossible. A tireless worker who took every chagrin and moment of frustration and challenge with fortitude and a smile, she deserves credit for the success of this great event. She was the General who led from the front, an army of men and women who gave their time, effort and talent that are not easy to find.
(Pictures by Helen Selmeczy)