Epic dance drama captivates audience

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By NAMITA PANDA
  • Published 26.08.10
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Bhubaneswar, Aug. 25: The characters of Draupadi, Yudhistir, mighty Bhim and the evil Keechak came alive on stage during the dance drama Keechak Badha performed at Rabindra Mandap on Tuesday. Based on Gangadhar Meher’s lyrical ballad, the play was staged to commemorate the 149th anniversary of the celebrated poet.

The drama began with an episode from the great epic Mahabharata, with a scene set in the kingdom of Virat when the dasis or maids of queen Sudeshna accompany her to the temple.

Sudeshna’s warrior brother Keechak, gets attracted to the most loved maid of the queen, Sairandhari, who is actually Draupadi, hiding along with her husbands (Pandavas), during their banavasa. Bhima promises protection to Sairandhari and finally Keechak faces death. After the death scene of Keechak the spellbound audience broke into a huge rounds of applause.

The audience is seemed captivated by the musical ballad as it gripped everyone’s attention by reconstructing the ambience of the Mahabharata beautifully.

Meher’s wonderful poetry flowed in the background audio accompanied by melodious music that enhanced the performances of the artistes from the Bhubaneswar based group, International Theatre.

“The stories of Mahabharata have always interested people. But the masterpiece of the great poet Gangadhar Meher adds a new aspect to the understanding of the episode of Keechak Badha,” said Laxmikant Jena, a government employee from the audience.

“The depths of Meher’s poetry are not easy to understand. But presenting the theme as a drama is an ingenious way to enjoy his literature,” said the 33-year-old veterinary Dr Krushnakeshab Sarangi, who was awarded the first Gangadhar Meher Pratibha Samman by the joint organisers, Gangadhar Meher Pratisthan, for his translations of Meher literature from Oriya to Sanskrit

The Gangadhar Meher Samman, which is being awarded for the last three years on the birth anniversary of Meher, was presented to Prof Pathani Patnaik this year.

Meher, also known as Prakruti Kabi or Swabhaba Kabi, played a strong role in reviving Oriya literature. Keechak Badha, the brilliant piece of literature written in 1880s by Meher has been immensely popular in its play version.

It is known to be one of his best compositions, the other important works being Pranaya Ballari and Tapaswini.

“It is very encouraging to see people appreciating my great grandfather’s works even today,” said Mihir Meher, the director of International Theatre.