The famous Bharatnatyam dancer Guru Sandhya Damle brings backs to you the 12 century famous epic, Geet Govinda. In a conversation with her, read the interesting making of the upcoming pious musical performance Geet Govind.
Geet Govinda is written by Jayadeva Goswami where he has tried to combine religious fervor with eroticism and romanticism. It belongs to the medieval Vashnavism and describes the love sports and pangs of separation of Radha and Krishna. This epic combines different shades of love with a philosophical touch. The epic shows not just the love between a man and a woman but also between Lord Krishna (Parama Purusha) and Radha (his Devanagari). This epic is full of devotion and Bhakti Sringara.
Love of Radha-Krishna, a timeless purity to exist
Choreographing and performing this is a dream come true for Guru Sandhya Damle who is a Masters of Fine Arts (Bharatnatyam) from Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya. A University topper, she has also learned Kathak dance under Guru Madhurita Sarang for five years. Through this not only she wants the audience to get entertained but also to know the inner meaning of the purity and sanctity of love of Radha Krishna. The ballet’s music is composed by the legend Pandit Jasraj and the songs are sung by some famous and well to know singers namely Shreya Ghoshal, Shankar Mahadevan and others.
Your dance production is based on Geet Govinda, the 12th century work which highlights relationship between Radha, Krishna and Gopis through Sanskrit Kavya. Where do you see the significance of Sanskrit Kavya in today’s contemporary world ?
There are very few people who understand the language, so when you translate – like Geet Govind is translated in hindi or braj language, it becomes familiar to people. Sanskrit is the mother language of all the languages but since in contemporary world to make it familiar with masses the translation is done. Since it is not a spoken language it is still there in hearts of people but in a different form. In this mobile and digital age the language is translated in different manner but the beauty and the purity of language is still there.
Since your musical ballad’s music is the rarest one, how difficult it was for you to get the copyrights ?
I got this CD in 2005 and have kept it for almost 10 years because I always wanted to choreograph this. After 10 years when I thought I really need to do something about it I went to Times Music. This CD was released by Times Music but they told me they did not have the copyrights of this. So then I went to Madhura Ji (wife of Pandit Jasraj Ji) who is the producer of this CD. After the discussion, perceptions and ideas she got to know what teachings I have and how I would like to concept this – she was convinced and then she sent me to people who had the copyright. So I went to them and was finally given the permission but they said they want to check the choreography because since it is related to Radha and Krishna so a lot of sentiments are involved and associated with this because all of them are Krishna Bhakta. I had a clear view of how I want to choreograph this. They told me about the major dont’s and do’s. One of the major dont’s was that the dance should not have discourtesy as in something which would caused discomfort to eyes- because now a days in classical dancers are mixing bollywood style. They said it should have that sanctity, it should have that devotion yet feeling of love should reach the audience. So on 28 December we had a grand rehearsal with costumes and everything and we invited Madhura Ji for it. She was very impressed and content with the performance.
What style of dance in your musical ballad is based on basically?
Since the music is based on Hindustani Music so my dance is a mixture of all the classical dance forms. It has elements of Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi and so on. It can broadly be classified as a semi- classical one. Role of Krishna is performed by an amazing folk dancer, Shreyas Desai, it’s been three months I am working with him. Being a folk dancers he picked up classical dance very fast. He dances so well his postures, his emotions everything is so good. I am very strict as far as technique is concerned. Its just not mine but also my students’ efforts to bring together this production.
One of the most memorable incident that you would like to share.
Because of this production I could meet Pandit Vasraj ji and not just him but also his Guru Goswami ji. All inspiring and good people I could contact with. Madhuraji also. There are many beautiful moments with my students where we started choreographing. When Shreyas joined our group – there are a lot of good memories. The most memorable memory is conversing with Pandit ji and Madhura Ji.
We wish the entire team of Nritya Darpan and Guru Sandhya Damle good luck for their show.
Venue: Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Rastriya Smarak, Shivaji Park,, Besides Mayors Bungalow, 252, Swatantrya Veer Sawarkar Marg, Dadar West, Prabhadevi, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400028
Time: 7 pm
Date: 5 January 2018