Kalidasa’s works have often caught the fancy of dramatists across generations. He is widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the Sanskrit language. His work, Shakunthalam, written about 1,500 years ago, has, because of its tragic love story, been a favourite of many theatre groups.
This is the tale of King Dushyanta who falls in love with Shakunthala, the daughter of Menaka, an apsara and Vishwamitra, a sage. Shakunthala’s breath-taking beauty enamours the king and they secretly tie the knot at Sage Kanva’s ashram in the forest. After the king leaves, Shakunthala can’t stop thinking about him and ignores Sage Agasthya who visits the ashram. In a fit of anger, the sage curses her. The curse comes true when King Dushyanta refuses to recognise her when she comes to his royal court, pregnant with his child. The rest is the story of their reunion.
Produced by Natyalakshana Akademi, Bangalore, this one-and-a half-hour long dance-drama is being performed by Hari and Chethana, two out-standing Kathak dancers, along with their ensemble.
On at Kamani Auditorium, on January 2, the show has been conceptualised and choreographed by Usha Venkateswaran. Praveen D. Rao has given the music.