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‘Ravan is a great artiste’

Actress Shobana’s dance drama will exhibit the positive side of the anti-hero, reports Jayeeta Mazumder.

art and culture Updated: Oct 20, 2009 20:09 IST
Jayeeta Mazumder

It’s Ramayana once again; only this time the epic will focus more on Ravan rather than Rama. If mytho-drama is your scene, then the stage play, Maya Ravan, enacted by actress and Bharatnatyam dancer Shobana and her troupe, is a must-see.

This is only the second time that the dance ballet, organised by Banyan Tree, will be performed in the city. Says Shobana, “Last year, we got a great turnout. This time, we’re expecting an equally overwhelming response.”

Closer look
She points out that since the performance is not in the typical Bharatnatyam style, a lot more people come to watch the show out of sheer curiosity.

Shobana, who plays Ravan, informs that the attempt is to take a closer look at the man who has been branded the
eternal khalnayak.

“But Ravan is not just a villain, he is a great artiste as well. And we present his story through music and dance,” she asserts.

Incidentally, the play is in English, with pre-recorded voice-overs by Nasseeruddin Shah, Jackie Shroff, Milind Soman, Tabu and Revathy among thers. Wouldn’t language be a barrier? Shobana doesn’t think so: “A performance like this
transcends all linguistic boundaries,” she says. Would it have been less attractive if star voices weren’t used? “To call them Bollywood stars is too shallow. They are pan-Indian artistes whose voices have done full justice to the
storyline,” she avers.

Not strictly classical
A fusion of dance, drama and music, Maya Ravan is not a strict classical performance. “I still don’t know how to define it. It’s a blend of theatre and entertainment. And Mumbai is very open to these kinds of shows,” she smiles.

Shobana does, however, accept that classical art forms get less mileage on dance reality shows on TV. Recently, on Indian Idol, two classical dancers couldn’t get through to the next round despite wowing the judges, because their art was too ‘classical’. “I know,” sighs Shobana. “That’s why through such shows, I’m trying to get the rock concert crowd too,” she says.