National Award-winning actor and bharatnatyam dancer Shobana has figured a way to pool her dual talents.
In 2007, the danseuse combined the two with her dialogue-drama, Maya Ravan, an interpretation of the Ramayana that looked at the lighter shades of the anti-hero. Now she turns to another epic, Mahabharata with her musical dance ballet, Krishna, which premieres in the city today.
Shobana clarifies that this production looks beyond Krishna’s religious stature, and she will play Krishna as well as the evil Kansa. “I would have loved to play all the parts together,” she says, adding, “Unlike Ravan, there are not so many shades for Krishna. In Maya Ravan, I had 23 costume changes, here it’s barely six.”
With a canvas that moves from Vrindavan to Mathura to Kurukshetra, the production address lesser-known stories from Mahabharata. “I want to focus on the man and his philosophy. I’ve tried to lend it a film-like sense of anticipation,” she says.
The act also explores dance styles such as folk, classical and contemporary, through two-and-a half hours. She adds, “There are elements of Raas Lila and even Carnatic and Bollywood songs.”. Besides songs by celebrated composer AR Rahman and sound design by Oscar-winner Resul Pookutty, the show has voiceovers by Shabana Azmi (Gandhari), Konkona Sen Sharma (Radha), Radhika (Devaki), Nandita Das (Draupadi) and Milind Soman (Duryodhan), among others.
However, the travelling show, which premiered in Chennai in 2010, seems to be downsized from the original four hours, for its Mumbai debut. And instead of 50 dancers, it will feature only 23. “The all-female performaers are a riot of colour.
I’m sure Mumbai’s avant-garde audience won’t be disappointed.”
Watch Shobana’s Krishna at Nehru Centre Auditorium, Worli today, 7.15 pm. For tickets, log on to www.bookmyshow.com