PraatohKrityo: A Dance Drama that Debunks Societal Claims

One can be vocal without being verbose. Message can be driven home without any language. That was perhaps the foundation of PraatohKrityo – a dance theatre presented today at Kamani Auditorium in Delhi.

I don’t remember when was the last time I had seen so much energy on stage. But then, this dance theatre was not just about tireless  acrobats, but also about letting the body do the talking.

PraatohKrityo  is a story of women who are wary of the world, tired of being wolf-whistled and squeezed between moral policing and political nit-picking. They are restless to live life on their own terms. They are the progenitors of womankind that doesn’t find anything wrong in sitting with legs spread, flaunting  hairy underarm and making love to fellow women. They don’t fall in line.

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Image Credit: PraatohKrityo

The women  in the play have the ‘sassiness’ of Maya Angelou, persistence of Ashapurna Devi, and the rebellious streak of Ismat Chughtai. Their every somersault is a strong statement and every leap is laced with symbolism.While saxophone, ghatam, drums and guitar create a rare symphony,  women on stage pick themselves up after every fall. Their rise is cathartic. PraatohKrityo is certainly a revolt well choreographed.

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Listen to the Echoes of Empty Vessels

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Image Credit: Sarvam Foundation

Empty vessels sound much. We all know that. But there are only a handful of people who really want to know what this sound is all about. It’s a desperate appeal to listen to their pathos and free them from a parched existence. The Echoes of Empty Vessels was the theme of a thought-provoking event gifted to the people of Delhi by Sarvam Foundation, an NGO that does the dual service to the nation:  promote rich Indian art and culture through diverse ways and create awareness about pressing issues concerning the country.

Their latest cultural endeavour was aimed at creating awareness about water scarcity which is a reality in large swathes of India.

The two-hour event felt like an unnerving journey into the dry river beds, cloudless sky, bone-dry farmlands, empty vessels, and the sagging faces of rural women struggling to fetch enough water for their family.

The distinct bass tone of ghatam (pot-like percussion instrument) played by Elathur N. Hari Narayanan, the stellar efforts of R. Sridhar to express agony through violin and the empathy of esraj (string instrument) drove home a strong message: lend ears to what these empty pots are saying.

While eminent Bharatnatyam dancer Nehha Bhatnagar paid a tribute to the ebullient flow of the River Ganga, poet Anamika breathed life into words to emphasize the need for sustaining the rivers. The beautiful finger techniques of percussionist Fakhroddin Ghaffari and the wisely choreographed mimed play by Lise Moulet made the moments even more overwhelming. The empty pots did open up their hearts and cried out aloud before those who cared to understand them.

Just as the acts were meticulously (and diligently) sketched and the use of instruments was inventive, the people of India need to think beyond the obvious and act in unison to fill the vessels, because, as Nehha Bhatnagar (founder of Sarvam Foundation) said, “Water is worship and worship is water”.