Promising Bangladeshi dance artiste Amit Chowdhury performed a vibrant Bharatnatyam piece while we entered into the Chhayanaut auditorium on Wednesday evening. Celebrated dance troupe Shadhona presented the 34th episode of their regular event “Nupur Beje Jaye”, at Chhayanaut. Amit, in his second performance, offered an evocative display of his visual poetry. He superbly danced to a Bhairavi song “Nataraj Raj Nomo Nomah”, recorded by Asha Bhonsle.
The event also featured Bharatnatyam performance by Rajdeep Banerjee and troupe Parampara (Kolkata, India); Kathak dance performance by Ashimbandhu Bhattacharjee, founder director of Upasana Centre for Dance (Kolkata, India) and a theatrical/musical called “Ba(n)shi” (The Flute).
The concluding piece was the highlight of the event. The musical contained a potpourri of dance styles together with classical music, recitation (In English) and several Tagore songs that evoked the connotation of Ba(n)shi. Several artistes of Parampara also took part in it.
The presentation explored the idea of a male devotee aspiring to attain union with Krishna and more importantly, delved deep into the profound metaphor of the flute. In the narrative, the male devotee observes Radha and the Gopinis in their play of love with Krishna and feels completely hapless. In desperation, following Radha and the other Gopinis, the Gopi then wishes to shed his masculinity to get to Krishna. His efforts prove futile and he ends up being frustrated. In utter despair, the Gopi then expresses his agony to Krishna's flute.
After all his attempts, appeals and failures at seeking Krishna's grace, the devotee finds himself lost and bewildered, traversing the labyrinths of life aimlessly. When he's exhausted, he submits himself unconditionally and entirely at Krishna's lotus feet. And then in a flash the realisation dawns, the ultimate truth reveals itself to the devotee. “Kar Milono Chao Birohi?” (whose union do you seek, O estranged lover?), implying that all searches and all efforts are but in vain, that Krishna is nowhere but within, awaiting his discovery not outside but deep within - a realisation that would grant his grace, one that would reverberate through the consciousness and beyond.
Lord Krishna is invariably associated with playfulness, dance and music - particularly with the flute. But what is the essence of the Ba(n)shi”, in the hands of Krishna? Krishna stands for the very idea of divine love. And this divine love expresses itself by entering and filling the mortal being with “satchianandam” – the blissful experience of the boundless, pure consciousness, the glimpse of the ultimate reality.
“Ba(n)shi” has been directed by Rajdeep Banerjee, an alumnus of Rabindra Bharati University. A believer in the continuity of classical tradition, Rajdeep is a performer of Kalashetra style. At the end of the performance, Lubna Mariam, artistic director of Shadhona, extolled Rajdeep Banerjee and his troupe members.