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Dance production to revisit writings of Bharathiyar
The performance will fuse Bharatanatyam by Ramya Ramnarayan with storytelling by Isaikavi Ramanan & music by Rajkumar Bharathi, great grandson of Subramanya Bharathi
Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathi (1882-1921), or Bharathiyar as he’s popularly known, one of the most iconic Tamil poets, remains relevant even in the current day, particularly for his views on women empowerment. An upcoming dance-discourse production titled ‘Katha Nrityam’ is making an attempt to revisit the writings of Bharathiyar, to demonstrate how we as a society could use the renowned writer’s imagination in the present times. The performance will not only include dance and music, but also weave in stories.
Conceptualised by danseuse Ramya Ramnarayan, the 90-minute production will see storytelling by Isaikavi Ramanan, a poet and speaker, and music by Bharathiyar’s great grandson Rajkumar Bharathi. Simply put, a story inspired by the 20th century poet’s views will be narrated through dance, music and discourse.
“The concept of having multiple art forms that complement each other is not new, but has existed since the Sangam time. Mostly in the current day, we see dance and hear music along with it. But, there are also other aspects to our art forms. The idea is to collaborate and bring discourse, dance and music together,” says Ramya, a Bharatanatyam exponent who had won the coveted ‘Kalaimamani’ award from the Tamil Nadu government.
Through an earlier production of Katha Nrityam, Ramya had explored the writings of Tamil poet Andal. “In this production, instead of looking at just Bharathi’s writings, the storytelling also looks at poetry from the Sangam era, while drawing parallels to works like Kamba Ramayanam, Thiruvilaiyadal Puranam and other writings by contemporary poets of the time. We also look at how Bharathiyar came up with such fresh poetry and who he managed to inspire. Isaikavi Ramanan is an expert on Bharathiyar, and has done a lot of research on his writings. So, I thought the subject would bring out the best in him. Rajkumar Bharathi, on the other hand, understands and has imbibed Bharathiyar’s poetry’s right from childhood,” she elaborates.
Bharathiyar’s writings, which were a reflection of the then society, speak volumes even in the present day, Ramya says. “Bharathiyar believed that women are the torchbearers for a society and it reflects in his writings. The entire performance will focus on Bharathiyar’s views on women empowerment,” she adds.
Music composer and singer Rajkumar Bharathi will bring in classical and folk compositions for the performance, that will narrate an assorted set of stories, including that of Bharathiyar’s. “Bharathi’s writings resonate with us even now. He was much ahead of all of us in his thoughts. The fact that his writings are relevant today raises a question on whether we as a society are growing,” he says. When musicians and artistes of different backgrounds work together, it leads to an exchange of ideas, he asserts. “That is how we bring in harmony,” remarks Rajkumar, who had also collaborated with rock and jazz musicians in the past.
Katha Nrityam will be held at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on January 2, 2020 at 7.30 pm and PSBB School in T Nagar on January 3, 2020 at 7.30 pm.