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Krishna: Forty years of playing flute-player, charioteer in a ballet

Now in its fortieth year, a ballet on Krishna depicts the two major stages of his life

art and culture Updated: Aug 20, 2016 10:44 IST
Furquan Ameen Siddiqui
Krishna
Scenes from the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra’s musical dance-drama, Krishna.(Courtesy Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra )

Krishna the playful, capricious god has long fascinated both devotees and story tellers alike.Just like it has been happening every year for the past 40 years, this Janmashtami too, the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra will be back with its two-and-a-half hour production, Krishna. The 41st edition promises to be as diverse, entertaining and full of colour as it has been throughout its existence.

Krishna portrays the life and journey of a legendary figure – both admired and worshipped – from childhood trough his youth to his becoming a godly figure.

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The Kala Kendra, that formally came into existence in 1952, stages various performances to aesthetically capture the best from Indian religion, mythology and folklore. Its other famous production, the Ram Leela, has been performed over 2000 nights in India and abroad. This Dussehra it will be completing 60 years.

The ballet has, since its inception, ‘transformed into a thoroughly researched and an artistically gratifying experience for the viewer’.

The annual theatrical ballet Krishna is performed in two broad parts -- the initial phase of a naughty, romantic youth and later a chakradhari godly figure. (Courtesy Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra )

The annual theatrical ballet Krishna is performed by the Kendra’s troupe in two broad parts.“People associated Krishna's life only with makhanchori or his romance with Radha and so on. But a full half of the ballet deals with the Mahabharata part of Krishna’s life, something that is often overlooked,” says Shobha Deepak Singh, producer and director of the play.

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‘Geeta updesh’ took part in the second part of Krishna’s life and hence is an important part of his life, believes Singh. “Don’t you always say ‘hum Geeta ki kasam khate hain’,” says Singh. The first half of the musical is thus devoted to people who like the younger Krishna’s story. The second is devoted to those interested in the episodes of the Mahabharata where Krishna played a pivotal role. The ‘Chakradhari Krishna’ is treated as one with leadership qualities.

“Initially we only used to show the popular part in our ballet, now we divide it equally between the two parts,” says Singh.

In forty years many things has changed including sound and costume. A range of lyrics not as popular – such as Radhikaashtakam, Chorashtakam – have made it to the recent editions. (Courtesy Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra )

It’s been forty years, so how much has the script changed? A lot, she replies, including in sound and costume. A range of lyrics not as popular – such as Radhikaashtakam, Chorashtakam – have made it to the recent editions. “For forty years it cannot be the same show going on. It’s because we don’t sit back in complacency that it keeps evolving,” says Singh. Watch out for what is new this time around.

What: Krishna, performed by Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra
When: 6.30 pm daily, August 21 to 25
Where: Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg
Call: 23386428
Entry Fee: Tickets priced at ₹300 and ₹500