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The Telegraph
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Chhau take on timeless roots
- Iconic & divine themes

Chhau artistes will regale Ranchi denizens at the three-day Maati Ke Rang between November 3 and 5 at Hotwar’s Ram Dayal Munda Rajkiya Kala Bhavan.

Seraikela’s Rajkiya Chhau Nritya Kala Kendra will offer an opulent visual treat in the event organised by the state art and culture department in association with Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (EZCC), Calcutta.

Well-known chhau exponent Tapan Patnaik, along with a 15-member dance troupe, will present the performances on the three themes — tribal icon Birsa Munda’s late 19th century uprising against the British, goddess Durga’s mythical battle with demon Mahishasur and Radha-Krishna raas leela.

“Right now, we are neck-deep in rehearsals. We have been constantly practising for the past 15 days,” Patnaik, who also sourced new costumes for the prestigious show, said.

Though chhau artistes have been experimenting lately with contemporary themes to stay relevant to younger audiences and reach out to global ones, Patnaik said these three themes were “timeless”.

“Since the programme is titled Maati Ke Rang, we wanted to stay close to our roots,” he said. “First, we’ve choreographed a chhau item on patriot Birsa Munda, who is called dharti aba or father of the earth, with whom tribals identity themselves.”

He added that the battle between goddess Durga and the demon was an enduring motif signifying the triumph of good over evil across India.

The third and last chhau item that showcases the raas leela of Radha and Krishna in Vrindavan is, similarly, seen as the most important symbol of divine love.

“In all the three themes, audiences will get to see the twin traits of Seraikela and Kharsawan chhau,” he added.