An Odissi of love

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | RUTH PRARTHANA
Published Aug 10, 2019, 12:27 am IST
Updated Aug 10, 2019, 12:27 am IST
A new dance-drama depicts a classic love story full of passion and pathos.
Madhulita Mohapatra and Paridhi Joshi.
 Madhulita Mohapatra and Paridhi Joshi.

The culturati and classical dance aficionados are gearing up for Naman 2019, an annual event started 10 years ago by Odissi dancer Madhulita Mohapatra. And this year, the Nrityantar Dance Ensemble has come up with a very unique show for Naman. Their dance-drama titled Satyam Prema Amaram (True Love Never Dies) is an adaptation of the tragic love story of Mirza and Sahiba.

Ten years ago, this annual Odissi dance festival was inaugurated by Madhulita’s guru Shri Gangadhar Pradhan. She shares, “This festival brings Indian as well as international Odissi dancers together. As a dancer, I felt it was my responsibility to ensure that, through this performance, people get to see the best of Odissi.”

 

Talking about why she chose Mirza and Sahiba, the firm believer in the love and its eternity says, “I believe that love can change anything. We have all heard about Heer-Ranjha and Sohni-Mahiwal. But Mirza and Sahiba are very different. While the hero is strong and powerful, the heroine is soft and beautiful.”

The storyline that the dancer will be following will start right from when they fall in love till the time their love becomes immortal. On what the audience can expect from this show, Madhulita adds, “Since it’s a dance drama, we have the liberty to do things differently. We have experimented with costumes but have tried to keep the moves and music purely Odissi.” The Odisa Dance Academy as well as the Sanjali Ensemble will join the 15 dancers from Nrityantar for the show.

Paridhi Joshi, who plays the role of Mirza, was given a brief of her character, but she made sure to go deeper, reading up online and watching a few documentaries too. Paridhi says, “What I liked about Mirza was the fact that he was an all-rounder and had a lot of girls in the village falling for him. But he stayed true to his love for Sahiba. Though he was a strong person, he had an emotional side as well. Playing a guy was challenging but fun. As an artist, it was very explorative, as I had to walk, talk and emote like a guy.” To play the main protagonist is easy but essaying a villain is a different ballgame. Sonali Mohanty, plays Raivat, who ultimately led to the lovers’ death, explains, “Preparing for the role of Raivat was quite difficult. The qualities a protagonist has can be found within but to play a villain is quite difficult. To get the audience to love your character is also a challenge.”

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