Erotic & exotic version of Krishna-Gopi Maharaas by Alaknanda in Kathak

 Erotic & exotic version of Krishna-Gopi Maharaas by Alaknanda in Kathak

The maharaas between Lord Krishna and the Gopis has often been showcased by dancers in a very happy, playful and cheerful way but renowned Kathak dancer, singer and art motivator Alaknanda recently brought an erotic and exotic look to the raas through her show.
Nrityashri Alaknanda is well-known in the world of dance. She has been awarded the coveted Honors Gratis by the President of Krakow, Poland. She is also the State Icon for the Election Commission, New Delhi and brand ambassador for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan for EDMC.
An alumnus of Kathak Kendra, Alaknanda trained for 14years with scholarship under Reba Vidyarthi, Bharti Gupta and Guru Munna Shukla. She performed in many productions of late Pandit Birju Maharaj like Krishna in Krishnayana and Meera among others.
In a career spanning 35 years of national scholarships, honorary titles, and ICCR empanelment, she has been running a performing arts institute in Noida, the Alaknanda Institute for Performing Arts (AIPA), while representing India at international festivals and curating independent dance festivals in the country. AIPA is affiliated to Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal Miraj and is an examination center for 1000s of artistes for last 27years.
I spoke with the vivacious dancer in regards to her unique interpretation of the Maharaas and this is what she had to say:

Why did you come up with this production?
We wanted to celebrate the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav in a very different way, so I came up with this idea. I feel The Maharaas is the ultimate celebration. I am glad that my other dancer friends loved this concept and stepped in to help me take this production ahead.

maharaas

A production is always a team effort. Isn’t it?
Absolutely, and I am thankful to my parents Dr Hiron Dasgupta and Gautam Dasgupta for the unconditional support to put this production through. I also thank my co artistes who performed brilliantly with me – Sunny Shishodiya (kathak), Suhail Bhan (Bharatnatyam), Vinod Kevin Bachan (Odissi) and Rajesh Sai Babu (Chhau) and my Sanskriti troupe. This show would not have been complete without their presence – each artiste brought in their charisma and charm into the show and made the Maharaas a memorable experience.

maharaas

How did you conceptualise the Maharaas?
While I was planning the show some beautiful words came to me for Krishna and based on that I created this erotic Maharaas. “Hey Krishna My love doesn’t restrict you, You are free from my love. I find you in everything around me… The nature is you hey!!! Krishna… The child is you hey !!!! Krishna… The rain is you hey !!! Krishna… You are the Universe… So why should I restrict my love to your physical being !!!! I see you in everything so my love is for all… Love is mukti (freedom), Love is bhakti (prayer)… I don’t need you to love you Hey!!! Krishna.” These lines inspired me and that is when the concept of Maharaas was born. I then approached my colleagues and they all welcomed the idea.

Maharaas

How difficult was it to bring it all together?
Apart from the artistes who perform at a show, the script, the music, the costumes and the lights – all play a very important role. The Maharaas text and music conceptualisation was done by Gauri Diwakar. The music was by Sami Ullah Khan. Choreography was done by me, and Sangeeta Das Banerjee and Ashish Banerjee of One FrameStory did the photography. Light designing by Sandeep Dutta, Voice for the day was Deepak Sar. The event was supported by the Brahmananda Public School.

maharaas

How do you manage to bring out unique and path-breaking shows?
I know my erotic interpretation of the Maharaas has sent shock waves in the classical dance world. I am a rule breaker, because I believe it is my life and I want to live it my way. Society sucks, rules are made to depress you and lay you down and if one can shine above that, the same society salutes you and then follows you too.

Classical world is known to be rigid in many ways, how did you get this bold and daring attitude?
That is because I don’t care, because I dance for myself and my God at the same time and also because I know that my audience loves me. I believe a classical artiste must decide whether they want to be the change or keep doing age-old things. Times are changing, people are changing, So should the classical art. Yes!! I dare to dare, the world made me that way and my God made me unique. I can make such bold shows only because I am answerable to my God and no one else.

maharaas

What next?
We are planning an all India tour of Maharas, next step being Mumbai. I am in talks to take the show to other parts of the world too. Let us see how that materialises. I am sure this new exotic and erotic look of the Maharaas will be appreciated by global audiences.

 

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1 Comment

  • Always a pleasure to read Ashish ji’s column .I am happy I hve met the most humble person like him , always into helping promoting Artists & conducting Attendance festivals . Enjoyed reading the column Ashish Khokar ji .

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