Bhubaneswar, 29 July 2014: Rabindra Mandap, the auditorium at the city of temples was full on Tuesday evening. There was absolute silence among the audience. The audience was moved by the almost 90 minute long Odissi Dance drama performance, based on Sidhhartha, the epic novel of Nobel laureate Harman Hesse.
The production, choreographed by Guru Aruna Mohanty and performed by the artists of Odisha Dance Academy, was a marvelous and artistic translation of the text into performing art form.
Sidhhartha, the lead character of Nobel laureate Harman Hesse’s epic novel Sidhhartha, goes in search of truth, as defined by the famous four-fold sequence of Indian philosophy, namely Dharma, Artha, Kama and Mokshya.
Acquiring knowledge and rules of cosmic existence is a part of Dharma, earning one’s living is Artha, enjoying life on a physical and mundane level is Kama, and renouncing all these to go in search of supreme bliss is Mokshya. Hesse adopted a different literary format to portray the journey of Sidhhartha, woven around a brilliant story line.
Taking inspiration from Hesse’s storyline, a different choreographic model has been adopted to present Siddhartha’s his experiment with truth and his journey as a seeker from a dancer’s point of view. The itinerary of Sidhhartha, as it unfolds and evolves from one step to the next, has been depicted in the various episodes.
Sidhhartha’s journey from childhood to adolescent is quite a complex one. Being a seeker of truth he is never satisfied with the knowledge that he gains from the scriptures and taught by his teachers.
Setting up his journey as a young sanyasin he saw various ways of penance and become a part of it. From there he moves on to another circle of his search when he meets Budhha and initiated into Sangha.
There also he was restless and felt in his blood the call of a world which was totally unknown to him. That was call of the Sansara. Sidhharth, Getting sensual pleasure from young and beautiful Kamala, earning money through Kamaswamy’s company and falling into the habits of pleasure seeking sensuality.
Again dissatisfied and failed in his search, Sidhhartha left the world of pleasantries and restarted his journey as a wanderer. Here comes his real guide and mentor Basudeva, the ferryman. Basudeva taught Sidhhartha the real meaning of life.
The river becomes a mirror. Sidhhartha experiences his truth with the flow of river. Here he saw the Viswaroopa.
“As a choreographer I do prefer to draw a storyline juxtaposing few episodes which are not necessarily events of the novel. It’s an independent choreography taking inspiration from Herman Hesse’s work, but drawing its own course of presentation”, says Guru Aruna Mohany, noted Odissi dancer and guru who choreographed the production.
At the end of the performance, Guru Aruna Mohanty thanked all and felicitated the dancers, musicians and technicians and presented them plants as a matter of honour and gratitude.
Idea initiated by: Shantashree Mohanty.
Conceptualised by: Guru Aruna Mohanty.
Visualised by: Shri Kedar Mishra & Guru Aruna Mohanty.
Think Tank: Nibedita Scudder and Samita Sahu.
Lyrics: Santha Tulsi Das, Naba Kishore Mishra, Odia Bhagabata, Bhagabat Gita, Swetaswetar Upanishad.
Dance Script by: Shri Kedar Mishra.
Contribution in the Music: Guru Gopal Chandra Panda, Guru Ramahari Das, Guru Bijaya Ku Jena, Guru Sumanta Ku. Mohanty. Contribution in the rhythm: Guru Dhaneswar Swain & Guru Bijaya Kumar Barik.
Choreography: Guru Aruna Mohanty
Musicians: Surmani Ramesh Chandra Das (Violin), Guru Bijaya Kumar Barik (Mardala), Shri Swapneswar Chakravorty (Sitar), Shri Srinibas Satapathy (Flute), Shri Rupak Kumar Parida (Vocal), Shri Sitakanta Jena (Manjira).
Dialogue/Voice Over: Shri Srinibas Satapathy.
Light design: Shri Ramesh Chandra Jena. Visual design: Shri Biswajit Das.
Compeer: Shri Srinibas Ghatuary
Dancers – Pabitra, Biswajit, Pankaj, Pravat, Bijan, Rajesh, Pratap, Deepak, Binayak, Madhusmita, Pooja, Sasmita, Mitali, Arunima, Shreepunya, Ananya, Tanushree, Muskan & Shreya.
Digital Media Partner: OdishaLive (www.odishalive.tv)
(Photo Courtesy: Ganesh Sahoo)