Padmashri Bharatnayam dancer Geeta Chandran is set to present her latest work Simihika: Daughter Of The Forest on this weekend at the India International Centre. Her performance will revolve around the protagonist, Simhika, a fictional character created for a Kathakali dance-theater written by Kottayam Thampuran.
In her presentation, Dancer Geeta Chandran invests Simhika with voice and agency, unveiling the thoughts and conflicts in the protagonist through the process of anavarna, a technique in Bharatanatyam abhinaya, where layer after layer is unpeeled to reveal subtle truths. Geeta casts her as a woman, a wife, a nurturer, daughter of the forest who becomes a victim of circumstance.
The forest also assumes a variety of roles, including that of confidant and witness as well as nurturer and betrayer. And the forest, like the audience, becomes a silent observer of injustice and patriarchy.
Simhika’s transformation through the technique of rupantara is also a commentary on our contemporary times where we judge people based only on their outward physical appearance.
The hour-long performance dialogue is situated in a theatrical set that resonates with the forest setting. It has been crafted by Jugal Kishore Sharma and his team of traditional flower decorators from Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh.
Geeta Chandran adapted the text from Thampuran’s original, and AR Sreekrishnan translated it into Sanskrit.
The singer K Venkateshwaran and the drummer Manohar Balatchandirane collaborated closely with the dancer to create the musical backdrop for Simhika. Sandhya Raman designed Simhika’s outfit.
Where: India International Centre, Lodhi Estate
When: December 6, 2022; 6:30 PM
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