Though epics mostly have male protagonists, Silappadikaram, the world famous poem by Ilango Adigal, is a contradiction. It presents a legendary heroic female character, Kannagi, who speaks up against the ruling king and confronts him for his incapability in delivering justice, making him realise his mistake. The legend of Kannagi will be relived by Athira Sajeev, a techie and danseuse, at Changampuzha Park on September 26. Athira will breathe life into the character of Kannagi in the solo dance drama named after the protagonist.
Athira, who works as a in an IT firm in Kochi, has performed various dance forms, including Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattom, Keralanadanam, Ottanthullal, Kathakali and Koodiyattom and won prizes in school youth festivals and university competitions. However, it is her first dance drama, a project that she has been working on for almost two years now. Ask her about the inspiration behind Kannagi, the techie says, “Silappadikaram and Kannagi’s character have always intrigued me and being a dancer, I always wanted to perform the range of emotions that the woman had gone through before turning into the epitome of destruction. She was madly in love with her husband and wanted to be with him at all times, good or bad, which according to her was the responsibility of an ideal wife. This was the reason why she was ready to forgive him even when he had an affair with a danseuse. The intensity of her love and respect towards Kovalan, her husband, was only visible when she went to the extent of confronting the king and cursing the entire kingdom. For an artist like me, to be able to enact the emotions that Kannagi went through is indeed a challenging yet thrilling experience. Moreover, my main aim also is to showcase the amount of strength and power women have within themselves, which when compared to men only makes itself visible if needed. Through Kannagi, I am portraying the ability of every woman to channelise her emotions in the right path.” She adds that her mother too has always been in awe of Kannagi’s character, which made her select the same for her first dance drama.
Athira observes that it was not an easy task to accomplish Kannagi as she could not find the right person to write the script. “After approaching many people for almost a year, we finally found Madhu Perozhi who has written the script and I am extremely happy with the way it has turned out,” says Athira, who started learning Bharathanatyam at the age of four and was extremely particular about the script for Kannagi. The dance drama has been directed and choreographed by Amrithavani Seema Kannan and Kannan G. Nath. Kuchipudi dancer Anupama Mohan will
inaugurate the programme at 6.30 pm.