Deccan Chronicle

The Battle Within – A solo dance creation inspired by the Bhagavad Gita

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One of the most relevant scriptures in today’s times is the Bhagavad Gita. After all the life skills of this epic cannot be more relevant than today. In fact the epic discourse between Arjuna and Krishna has myriad interpretations and artiste Malavika Sarukkai’s take on this episode is showcased in ‘The Battle Within’. This is a discourse that encompasses both the human and the divine and operates on both the micro and the macro levels. Malavika has conceptualized and choreographed the show and her language of classical dance brings alive the internal spaces of the heart and mind fired by emotions of conflict, despair and transformation. With a running time of 70 minutes, this show will make you confront your personal dilemmas while you simultaneously enter the world of the imagination.

“My mother was a strong and spirited person who believed that channelling ones creativity was most important. She personally adored classical dance but was never a dancer herself. If not for her motivation, support and passion I might not have entered the world of dance as a little girl. However, by the time I was 16 years old I knew what I loved most, more than anything else was to dance,” admits Malavika. The Battle Within is a dramatic interpretation inspired by the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita is revealed on the battlefield of Kurukshetra which becomes both a physical and psychological arena. Though the context is the imminent war between two families, the Gita becomes a universal and timeless text for it addresses the conflict within each one of us. Quiz her on what inspired her to choose the Bhagavad Gita as a subject Malavika says, “in our home, there was always a copy of the Bhagavad Gita and I was used to seeing my mother reading from it and sometimes she would read a passage to me. Some years ago it re-entered my life, this time as a project proposal. As I continued to research the text and the deeper I went, the more magnetic it became. I soon realised my creative impulse demanded I interpret it. And hence the journey began.”

Malavika Sarukkai
Malavika Sarukkai

For someone who sees Bharatanatyam as her language of interpretation and expression, Malavika says that the whole terrain of the inner world of emotions becomes a fertile field for exploration. “Arjuna’s conflict, despair, aggression becomes universal and his emotions, are ours,” she adds. Renowned filmmaker Sumantra Ghosal, who is the Creative Collaborator on this production, uses visual design to enhance the vast and cosmic worlds represented by the dance. “he innovative visual design, an integral part of this choreography, uses light and projection both moving and still, to bring the text alive, as the dancing body sculpts space to create a magical experience. Sound, light, music, text and dance seamlessly converse with each other as the epic unfolds,” says Malavika. What makes this show unique is that it will hold a mirror to yourself. “I believe the audience can expect an evening of overall excellent production values supported by an inventive stage and light design, extraordinary music together with a deeply moving experience of the Bhagavad Gita,” concludes Malavika.

  • What: The Battle Within – A solo dance creation inspired by the Bhagavad Gita
  • Where: Chowdiah Memorial Hall 16th Cross Rd, Vyalikaval, Kodandarampura, Malleshwaram, Bengaluru.
  • When: Saturday, 2nd November; 7:00 pm
  • Tickets: Rs. 249 available online at Book My Show: Donor passes available for purchase at Rs. 2500 premium seats will be allocated against donor passes on a first-come-first-serve basis.

This story first appeared in Deccan Chronicle dated Nov 1, 2019 here:

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