- Mayuri Upadhya
Photos courtesy: Nritarutya
March 8, 2014
Nritarutya’s latest production ‘Madhur Milan’ was staged on Feb 15, 2014 at the Ambani matriarch’s residence. The beauty of our myths is that it is timeless, the characters of gods and goddess are relatable and most importantly it can hold meaning even in a modern day with its newer realities. Last entire month we celebrated Ganapathi, Krishna and Shakthi and how. It was an enormous feat taking a crew of 102 to Mumbai for a very special occasion: to commemorate the 80th birthday celebrations of Kokilaben Dirubhai Ambani at her Mumbai residence, Sea Wind. While speaking with Kokilaben, in my earlier meets, I discovered that one of her beautiful traits is her love for god; she is a god loving and not god fearing person. She is a devotee of Sri Nathji and her relationship with god reminded me of Yashodha’s vatsalya, Radha’s preethi, and Meera’s bhakti.
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So, I conceptualized a presentation on love, Madhur Milan, a name Kokilaben herself coined. An extravagant musical that showcased the love, strength and the beauty of a woman. I had the fortune of collaborating with some of the most reputed and talented artists to make the creation come alive. Ace designers Sandeep Khosla and Abu Jani created the look for the costumes. Music genius Raghu Dixit designed and composed melodies exclusively for the production. Brilliant writer Ankur Tewari scripted lyrical poetry to my Sutradhar. Brand Natura, one of the most skilled professional teams I’d recommend was my aerial partner. Very skilled Sridhar Murthy designed Properties. Make-up wand master Kapil Bhalla and his team magically transformed faces. Santosh constructed the enigmatic set and Bipin Tanna’s unit assembled massive numbers on costumes.
We started with a Ganesh stuti with 31 masked dancers embodying the mystic essence of the Ekadanta, Vakratunda, Gana natha Shree Ganesh. The emotive vocals for this beautiful composition was by Chandala Bala, a Carnatic vocalist and musician par excellence. Love is the most important driving force of the entire universe and Bhagwan Krishna, in his prem avatar, is the god of love. His very idea of love, according to me was shaped by the different roles that iconic women have played in his human life. The pivotal role of Krishna, the sutradhar was played by the famed Raul D’Souza.
I chose to color the first stage… the vibrancy, energy, zest of Krishna’s childhood with Yashodha. Madhuri Upadhya, captivating and versatile performer was the mother Yashodha who dealt with all of Balagopal’s antics. Followed by this in stage two was the shringar, the romance of Radha in the beautiful landscape of Vrindavan. For this section, I had the very talented Parth Chandiramani play live flute on stage as the peacocks swayed to his melody and Radha along with her sakhis surrendered to each of their Krishnas in raas. My beautiful Radha was the gorgeous, gifted Bharatanatyam practitioner Parvathy Menon of Kalakshetra fame.
The bhakti of Meera, who had internalized Krishna in her very being was my third and final stage of spiritual love. Proficient, gripping and ever smiling Kathak dancer Gauri Diwakar was the Meera I was destined to be with. The haunting live Meera bhajan was sung by the mind blowing, super singer performer Bindhumalini Narayanswamy. To all this, the icing on the cake was the latest discovery: Gaurav Vaz and Veena Basavarajaiah, the excellent project managers who I was blessed with. I had the luxury of every little detail being taken care of, thanks to their foresight, expertise and capabilities.
Finally, my fabulous team: Vishwa, Rohan, Niranjan, Ashwin, Abhishek, Latha, Nanthu, Akshay, Pia, Preethi, Shruti, Varsha, Namitha, Namratha, Anirvan, Anjali, Gowri, Esha, Jeevan, Karthik, Mahithi, Aryan, Monisha, Mrudula, Roopa, Shashank, Shikha, Shreya, Veena, Shreya. Thank you… to more dancing...
Winner of International award for Choreography, Mayuri Upadhya is the Artistic Director at Bangalore based Nritarutya Dance Trust.
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