The collaboration between dancer Chitra Visweswaran and singer Bombay Jayashri Ramnath tells the age-old story of perseverance and devotion
For the deep meaning that her devotion for Lord Krishna was imbued with, her disregard for social mores and the poignant poetry she wrote, Meera Bhai continues to offer creative fodder to artistes, five centuries after her time. On July 30, the city will see a unique collaboration of two A-listers in their fields, danseuse Chitra Visweswaran and vocalist Bombay Jayashri, joined by their love for the mystic poet.“This has been a dream come true opportunity,” explains Visweswaran, who says she grew up reading Meera’s poems in Hindi, thanks to her education in North India.
The production delves into her poetry than her history, the 66-year-old clarifies, given that the historicity of the saint and her works havebeen grounds for sparring among hagiographers—such as the discussion about whether Akbar and Tansen met Meera Bhai, as claimed by a few versions. “We are attempting to present her story using her poetry,” explains Jayashri. “The onus here is in bringing out the pain and philosophy in Meera’s poetry, which is both deep and diverse. The beauty of the effort is in keeping it relatable to everyone viewing it and yet retaining its depth,” explains the 50-year-old artiste. The concert marks the premiere of the production by non-profit AIM For Seva, and will be presented at over 20 locations in the UK and USA.
All about her
The production features 10 dancers, all students of the dancer’s Chidambaram Dance Company, with Sukanya Ravindhar Srinivasan assisting in direction and choreography. The 80-minute showcase will feature four dancers reprising the titular role, including the danseuse herself—from being a dreamy-eyed child to, finally, the devotee who renounced her family and headed to Dwaraka to unite with Lord Krishna. It will also include popular bhajans of the saint, including Pag ghungroo and Pyaare darshan, although retuned by Jayashri (due to copyright issues). “We’ve also included several uncommon poems and a couple of namavalis,” Visweswaran says, adding, “This has been a truly collaborative effort. Both Jayashri and I jointly selected the lyrics, which she later composed music for.” Describing her artistic partner, Jayashri says, “It’s special to be able to work with someone you’ve grown up seeing and admiring. She is a dancer with exemplary beauty and grace.”
July 30, at the Music Academy.
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— Sharadha Narayanan