Sunday, September 28, 2014

Of Human Bondage

These quiet moments become choreography
The journey of creating content-centric productions has brought me a long way.  From the hesitant steps in 'Music Within' , content flirting with the abstract in 'Soul Cages', bold, bright strokes of black, white, and grey in 'YUDH', to a multi-layered character sketch in 'The Prophet', I feel I have journeyed along with the audience.

The project these have led to is the one I am ready to premiere early next year: Chains - Love Stories of ShadowsChains is an unusual project for me.  It feels like a trilogy - and indeed at one point we had considered this to be the content for three shows.  And yet, when I choreographed it, it  flowed like one, and hence our decision to keep it as one.  In its three parts, Chains moves from the bright and vivid colours of youth, to imaginary colours in black as the protagonist courses on the journey of life.

Chains seems a departure in the writing style of Srikanth.  He does not write love stories, and yet this is one.  But, as the Sai Shree Arts team heard the story through to the third part, we all nodded and said "this is Sri's work!".  The intensity, the questions and the underlying dilemmas - they become larger than life when the story is based on real people instead of mythical or spiritual ones. Rajkumar Bharati in his fifth collaboration with us delighted us yet again with his astonishing score and depth.  The music acquires a life of its own, moving with rhythms from across the world and genres, and still rooted in the Indian classical.

Another first for us has been that Chains does not have any spiritual content. Our earlier productions stayed away from religion, but focused on spirituality.  Chains is about people - everyday people.  I have seen Sri's story in almost every life.  He, with his story has ripped apart the mask we wear to camouflage the inner self.  And a deluge of ethical questions follow.  At its core, Chains seeks to discover the price for inner peace.  Everything in life comes at a price - is there anything that may be valued higher than all else, at all times?

Chains to us has been intensely challenging and personal.  But it has touched a chord with everyone that has heard this story.  Members of our team literally lost their sleep in relating the story to their own lives!  Perhaps, the more different we all are, the more we are the same.  We live, we seek, and we accept. But what we accept, and what we desire is sometimes representative of a chasm.

We can't wait to bring Chains to you - the love stories of shadows!
From Chains: Story and Lyrics by AK Srikanth

They asked why I search for a river in a desert
As I stood drenched in the pouring rain
How do I explain
The pleasures of rains on a hill
Or the parched disappointment of a mirage in the desert
Should be consequences of my choice alone. 

वही सवाल, लोगों के होटों पर
घटाऔं के गरजते बादलों के बीच
रेगिस्तान में नदियाँ ढूढंने के खाब क्यों देखती है
कैसे समझाऊँ ज़माने को
बारिशों का आनन्द हो
या मृगऋषणा की गूँजती निराशा
ये तो मेरे मन का विकल्प है ना
फिर भी
वही सवाल, लोगों के होटों पर