Time and again, we have seen the epic Mahabharata depicted in different ways, from being the storyline for classical dance forms like Bharatanatyam to the plotline for many plays. But using technology to showcase it is something that has never been done before. Brothers Bharat and Sharat Prabhath’s new show — 18 Days, Dusk of an Era — is a multi-media dance production that attempts to interpret the Kurukshetra as uniquely as possible.
It was apparently a childhood dream for these two brothers to do this performance owing to their artistic background. Bharat shares, “We come from a lineage that has been doing Harikathas for a long time. This a one-man theatre where he sings, dance and does drama. As kids, we have been exposed to culture and art. 18 days is our representation of how we have seen the Mahabharata.”
According to the brothers, this performance will give logical answers to questions like - Why did the battle of Kurukshetra happen? What was the logical reason for the war? etc. While Sharat has done the music and scripted the dance drama, Bharat has done the technical direction. They will be joined by over 50 artistes on stage. Talking about why they chose Kurukshetra as a subject, he says, “During our childhood, the way Kurukshetra was narrated was entirely different to what was written. People have been portraying it in a very artistic way. We plan to keep to the text.”
Bharat would like to describe this show as ‘mythology with technology’. This is a multi-media production that will use levitation, aerial artistry, animated visuals and screen transformations too. “We will have a mix of dance forms and martial arts. From Bharatanatyam to Yakshagana and Kung Fu to Kalaripayattu,” Bharat says, adding that this show will be treat for the senses.
Sharat, who composed the sound tracks and script for the performance, wanted to keep things as real as possible. He says, “Generally, such performances use a lot of Indian music. But wanting to do something different, I focused on symphony. I have used original Africa instruments and symbols. We also have a heavy string segment and have used war chants as well.”
Sharat spent over 18 days recording these songs while also working with eminent voice-over cinema artistes. “The script took over three years to write. Though I have been exposed to the Mahabharata as a child, I read various other interpretations of it. I also read things written by scholars and interviewed a few of them too,” Sharat explains how much thought went into this labour of love....