LAHORE, Sept 25: Two versatile Indian artistes Navtej Johar and Anil Panchal performed dance theatre piece at Alhamra Art Center, The Mall on Saturday night.
A good number of people were present at the event organised by Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop.
The performance “Fana’a: Ranjha Revisited” was collaboratively made by Navtej Johar and composers Madan Gopal Singh and Elangovan Govindrajan.
It was a dance-theatre piece that seamlessly fused two archetypical narratives from North and South India: the predominant Sufi love legend from the Punjab, “Heer Ranjha” interspersed with “Kutrala Kuravanji”, a genre of dance-drama from Tamil Nadu in which a gypsy foretells the heroine, Vasantvalli, of her destined union with Lord Siva.
Inspired by Sufi poetry and the crystallised structures which inform the Tamil poetic expression, “Fana’a: Ranjha Revisited” attempted to diffuse the ‘high’ and ‘low-art’ polarities through a male-duet, freely intermixing and juxtaposing the two texts without a fixed flow of narrative or fixed characterisations. Hence, Ranjha becomes Siva, Vasantvalli becomes Heer, a gypsy, a sakhi, a mendicant, and so on.
Each identity willingly immersed itself in the other, shedding its skin to discover another. Drawing on plural dance vocabularies -- Bharatanatyam, Chhau, Yoga, modern dance and physical theatre -- the choreographic treatment remained contemporary.
The work centred on Ranjha -- a harbinger of continuity who was continuously changing through his response to the land, the sound and the sensuous core of life. Fascinated by his own impermanence, Ranjha thus becomes the bard of a million masquerades, crossing cultural, spiritual and existential spaces with ease, acquiring both impermanence and omnipresence.
The concept and composition was by Madan Gopal Singh, carnatic composition by Govindrajan Elangovan. The vocals were by Madan Gopal Singh, Govindrajan Elangovan and Rekha Raj.