Students of Kalamandalam Goutam at Behala Natyalok, in collaboration with a bunch of artists, actualised an unfinished project of their guru in the form of a dance drama titled Raja — The Formless King, aided by the ministry of culture, government of India. The play staged at the Open Air Theatre of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute recently was a stylised rendition of The Mahabharata centred around Draupadi’s evolution from Kurukshetra to Mahaprasthan.
Kathakali was the chosen medium. A strong advocate of woman empowerment, Kalamandalam Goutam envisioned this Kathakali theatre production as a gallant enunciation of a woman’s voice breaking out from the milieu of patriarchy. Through a runtime of three hours, the play captures a time after the battle is over and Draupadi reminiscing the course of it. Would things have been different had she rejected her cloth and adorned shame, a portmanteau of bravado and sacrifice?
Powerful acting, classical dance presentation, scintillating sets, engaging music and vivacious narration marked the production.
While Banani Chakraborty was Prakshana, Adreeta Chatterjee was Draupadi and Ekavali Khanna Yuvati. Kalamandalam Sucheendranathan, Jayeeta Ghosh Raha and many artistes from West Bengal and Kerala collaborated. Dinesh Poddar took care of lights and Jaydeep Sinha vocals. Kabir Bedi lent his voice for the narration while Debojyoti Mishra curated the soundscape. The Telegraph was in the audience.