A rendition in grace

A rendition in grace

New Perspective

The Natakavalas, in association with the Oxford Bookshop, showcased a movement monologue by Veena Basavarajaiah in the City recently.

The monologue titled Sita was an evocative piece incorporating the abhinaya aspect of Bharatanatyam, among other things. Basavarajaiah, though primarily a classical Bharatanatyam dancer, uses other forms of dance such as the contemporary dance style.
She also uses Kalaripayattu, a martial art from Kerala and Sita, too had these influences.

The performance, in the words of the organisers, was meant to “take people on a journey of Ramayana from a woman’s perspective. Sita, the epitome of strength, courage, patience and endurance is often misunderstood as a submissive and weak character. This movement monologue gives insight of her mind, body and soul.” Veena’s performance was a graceful rendition of Sita’s plight, which was at once emotional and intellectually challenging. Two episodes stood out and merit a mention —  Sita’s situation mimicking a trapped animal attempting to free itself and the one in which Sita attempts to communicate to those around her but fails to garner any sympathy.

Basavarajaiah’s use of the sign language was particularly rich in symbolism. The plot, though based on ‘Ramayana’, differs from it as it portrays, as Ranjan Kamath, the founder of Natakavalas, points out, how once kidnapped “Sita lived happily never after”.
The performance was much enhanced by the wonderful music it was set to. The performance was set to the original verses from the Valmiki Ramayana by the Sanskrit scholar, Sharada Narayan. Vocal credits go to Harshita Bhat and Satyanarayan Bhat. Creative and technical support was provided by Keerthi Basavarajaiah.

By the end of the show, the completely focused artist looked like she was in tears. The audience seemed speechless. After the performance, the floor was thrown open for questions. This interactive session added value to the performance. For the benefit of the performer, an appreciation box was placed where the audience was invited to drop cash as they saw fit. “The box”, said Kamath “will tell the performer how good or bad the performance was.”

This was the inaugural performance, promoted by Natakavalas, which intend to feature more performance arts at the Oxford Bookshop. Kamath said, “We hope to have a show here every second and fourth Friday of the month but we won’t be booking shows just to ensure shows. We will be quality conscious.” These shows are not ticketed and are open to public.