The Bhagvad Gita is one of the central texts in Hinduism, with a philosophy that remains relevant to this day. The discourse between Arjuna and Krishna continues to find myriad interpretations in art, literature, dance and music. In ‘The Battle Within’, Bharatnatyam exponent Malavika Sarukkai explores the internal spaces of the heart and mind, fired by conflict, despair and transformation. The 70-minute performance brings our personal dilemmas to the surface, using the vocabulary of Bharatnatyam, speech, text, sound and light to delve deep within the philosophies of the Bhagvad Gita.
“My mother was a strong and spirited person who believed that channelling ones creativity was most important. She personally adored classical dance but was never a dancer herself. If not for her motivation, support and passion I might not have entered the world of dance as a little girl. However, by the time I was 16 years old I knew what I loved most, more than anything else was to dance,” admits Malavika. The Battle Within is a dramatic interpretation inspired by the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita is revealed on the battlefield of Kurukshetra which becomes both a physical and psychological arena. Though the context is the imminent war between two families, the Gita becomes a universal and timeless text for it addresses the conflict within each one of us. Growing up, Malavika can hardly recall a time when the Gita didn’t occupy pride of place inside the home and her mother, who read it regularly, would often read passages to her. It re-entered her life, however, a few years ago, this time as a project proposal. “As I continued to research the text and the deeper I went, the more magnetic it became. I soon realized that my creative impulse demanded I interpret it. And the journey began.”
For someone who sees Bharatanatyam as her language of interpretation and expression, Malavika says that the whole terrain of the inner world of emotions becomes a fertile field for exploration. “Arjuna's conflict, despair, aggression are universal and his emotions are ours too,” she says. Renowned filmmaker Sumantra Ghosal, who is the Creative Collaborator on this production, uses visual design to enhance the vast and cosmic worlds represented by the dance. “the innovative visual design, an integral part of this choreography, uses light and projection both moving and still, to bring the text alive, as the dancing body sculpts space to create a magical experience. Sound, light, music, text and dance seamlessly converse with each other as the epic unfolds,” says Malavika. What makes this show unique is that it will hold a mirror to yourself. “I believe the audience can expect an evening of overall excellent production values supported by an inventive stage and light design, extraordinary music together with a deeply moving experience of the Bhagavad Gita,” concludes Malavika.
What: The Battle Within - A solo dance creation inspired by the Bhagavad Gita
When: Nov. 2, 7 pm
Where: Chowdiah Memorial Hall 16th Cross Road, Vyalikaval, Kodandarampura, Malleshwaram