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Tandava presents Gita Bhagavatam
- Rashmi Thaper

April 11, 2018

Brahmotsava, the grand celebrations at ISKCON Bengaluru Sri Radha Krishna Temple is a visual experience of colorful festivities.The culture of Nritya Seva existed since ages as a ritual to offer a service to please the gods and goddesses. On April 1, Bengaluru's vibrant male team Tandava offered their Nritya Seva to the divine Radha Krishna. A unique theme 'Gita Bhagavatam' inspired from Srimad Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana was presented by the ensemble.

"Whenever there is a decline in righteousness and whenever there is predominance of unrighteousness, I incarnate on earth," Bhagavad Gita 4:7. The theme focused on the current situation around the world, the Kali Yuga, and how the lord incarnates himself to Kalki to demolish Kali. As Kalki Purana says, the people in Kali Yuga are accustomed to quarrelling and fighting amongst themselves. The study of Vedas, performance of sacrifice and ritual practices shall disappear, was brilliantly conceptualized and executed by the team. The usage of the props to highlight on the negativity of the Kali captivating one into the activities of adharma was well showcased.

The production made an effort to establish a link between the conversation of Arjuna and Krishna during Gitopadesha and the storytelling of Sri Shukha Muni to Maharaja Parikshit of Srimad Bhagavatam. The interesting aspect here was the different kinds of questions being put forth by Arjuna to Krishna which may / may not have happened was attention grabbing, that actually helped in crafting a link for Shukha Muni to talk about the aspects of Krishna Katha. Of the three Gunas, Tamo Guna was connected to the story of Shishupala Vadha, Jaraasandha Vadha to Rajo Guna and Parikshit's quest towards Satva Guna, all thematically executed by the Tandava Ensemble.

The climax showcased how Kalki destroys the Kali in Parikshit and leads him towards attaining "sat chit ananda." The production definitely raised a question, "Is it that the human by his / her own will does the Adharma? Or is it Kali who is making one do Adharama? How long shall the world operate this way?" One of the talented artists of Tandava, Karthik Datar, who has scripted this production, answered, "Kali resides in everyone and Kalki has already taken birth in the form of Guru." According to him it is the Guru who is educating and enlightening the world to transcend beyond the Trigunas and attain moksha thus quoting the examples of Vivekananda, Raghavendra Swamy and so on.

The concept never thought of before or executed in the format of Sanskrit dance drama was very well received by the audience. It was a well planned and executed dance production which was presented with great understanding among the four artists Srinivasan Rajendran, Karthik Datar, Somashekar and Ananth Nagaraj. Lyrics were by Arjun Bharadwaj, Karthik Datar on script, music composition and vocal by Balasubramanyam Sharma, mridangam by Hariswamy, tabla by Gurumurthy Vaidya, flute by Raghunandan, violin by Pradesh Achar, percussion by Karthik Datar, light design by Nagaraj T Marihonnaiah.

Rashmi Thaper is a Bharatanatyam artiste and director of Nritya Sinchana.