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Chitrangada comes alive in contemporary format

Bhubaneswar, May 10: Chitrangada, one of the finest creations of Rabindranath Tagore, was presented by Calcutta-based dance troupe Swatantra on Wednesday evening at Rabindra Mandap.

The traditional Rabindranritya was given a contemporary touch, which made the recital an endearing one.

Director of the dance-drama Madhabi Burman played on with all the acts quite deftly. The sudden transitions to contemporary dances looked unique and refreshing.

Chitrangada, the protagonist, is a confident woman, who is bereft of any feminine demeanour. Raised as the warrior princess of Manipur, Chitrangada spends her days learning the basics of martial arts and armoury. The dance drama too begins on a similar note.

Chitrangada and her friends are seen engrossed in sharpening their artillery skills when her eyes fall on Arjun. His masculinity and good features remind Chitrangada of Lord Shiva.

She goes weak on her knees and falls in love with the handsome man. Arjun, however, dismisses Chitrangada’s proposal claiming her as too masculine to fall in love with.

The next act shows Arjun and his friends revelling as they feast over a dead animal.

Chitrangada, now madly in love with Arjun, cannot concentrate on any of her activities. In a state of helplessness, she pledges to Madana, the Lord of love, to transform her into a beautiful woman. Madana grants her wish and Chitrangada soon evolves into a fascinating beauty.

Enamoured by her beauty, Arjun, too, falls in love with Chitrangada. But as he had heard of the real Chitrangada’s bravery, he desires to meet her. Chitrangada then reveals her true identity to Arjun.

The performance by the artistes was the main attraction of the dance drama, with a special mention to the dancer playing Arjun.

A houseful auditorium, despite the hazards of showers, made the event a success.

“The performance was a spectacular one. Though I didn’t understand a word, since the dance drama was performed in Bengali, the enchanting dance and the dancer’s expressions made it easy to grab the essence.

“Both Rabindranritya and Odissi have similar attributes of soft, subtle steps and expressions,” said Sangeeta Patnaik, who was present to watch the recital.