Indian classical dance acts usually revolve around two to three themes based on mythological stories. But popular Bharatanatyam dancer Savitha Sastry, added a new facet to the genre by introducing the concept of dance theatre a couple of years ago. After Soul Cages and Yudh, Sastry has now come up with her third production — The Prophet, which premieres in the city on November 9.
“It is a 70-minute production that features an original story written by my husband (AK Srikanth) and performed by me. It narrates the life story of the protagonist, Devadutta, a prophet who questions her role in society as she is meant to be an equal,” says Sastry.
When asked what made her keen to work on dance theatre productions, Sastry says, “Bharatanatyam, by definition, is dance theatre. The word ‘natyam’ means theatre. It is just that decades of following a set repertoire has made everyone forget this aspect of it. I am taking Bharatanatyam back to its roots.”
Ask her about the difficulties she faces while putting up dance theatre productions and Sastry says, “These presentations involve a huge team. Everything from the story to the lighting design, the music, and the costumes, are specifically created for a single production and cannot be used out of context.”
Sastry believes that her new production has a universal reach and that it will not be restricted to only people who understand Indian classical dance. “I have used the language of Bharatanatyam to narrate an insightful story. It speaks to a large audience regardless of their level of familiarity with this dance form. The Prophet will prove that classical dance can be as much an edge-of-the-seat experience as good cinema,” she says.
The background score of the act has been given by Chennai-based composer Rajkumar Bharati and includes instruments like the shehnai, sitar, ghatam, melodica and oboe.