Singapore justified its name as the ‘Global City of Culture and the Arts’ at a dance drama extravaganza of Shobana, one of the greatest dancers of India, as she presented ‘Krishna’ in English on February 8, 2013.
The show sparkled with her charm, creativity and innovative choreography, recreating the legend of Lord Krishna on stage.
The chronicle of the revered Hindu Deity, recited over two-and-half hours to a packed audience at the Esplanade Theatre, featured a blend of classical, folk and contemporary dances and music from classical repertoire and popular film scores.
Shobana and her coterie of 15 students danced with versatility, finesse and panache.
Their performance was embellished by voiceover by Shabana Azmi, Konkona Sen Sharma for audio-visual to enhance the beauty, valour and grace of ‘Krishna.’
“This dance portrays Krishna, the man and his philosophies, in a way that has never been done before,” Shobana said at her performance.
The dance musical recreated the life and times of Lord Krishna, demonstrating why He is still considered beyond ordinary reason and logic.
Various sequences portrayed His childhood playgrounds of Vrindavan, adolescence and youth in Mathura and his delivery of ‘Bhagavad Gita’ to Arujna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
The audience heard the oft-repeated message that “Lord Vishnu will return when righteousness fails and ‘adharma’ (immorality) rears its ugly head.”
He takes ten incarnations in Indian mythology and the dance drama showed Krishna as the Eight Avatar of Vishnu.
Among the highlights of the performance were the ferocious encounter with Kamsa, romantic link with Radha, the wicked Kauravas, the sequences relating to the wedding of Draupadi of Panchala, the public insolence that she suffered in the court of Dhritarashtra, her rescue by Krishna and the Battle of Kurukshetra.
A disciple of famous Bharata Natyam dancer and teacher Chitra Visweswaran and a niece of the famous ‘Kerala Sisters’ the late Lalitha, Padmini and Ragini, Shobana proved her prowess in an art that has stood through the tests of time.
She has also performed with several well-known artistes including Ustad Zakir Hussain, Vikku Vinayak Ram, Sonal Mansingh and Padma Subramanyam.
Shobana has appeared in many stages in India, US, Europe, South-East Asia and Australia over the past two decades.
I hope that she will one day perform in New Zealand and give us a treat for the eyes, ears and soul.
Dr V Subramaniam is our correspondent based in Singapore.