TODAY -

PAL's Gita Govinda - A new visual medium in Manipuri dance

Rajmani Ayekpam *

Nrityas Ras - by JN Dance Academy Students :: 1 April 2012
Nrityas Ras - by JN Dance Academy Students :: 1 April 2012
Pix - Bunti Phurailatpam



Jayadeva's Gita Govinda is one of finest literary pieces based on Madhur Ras of Lord Krishna and Radha. It has been attracted to many devotees of Lord Radha and Krishna for generations. The classical dances of India are indebted to this literary piece.

Many of literary text of Indian classical dances like Kathak, Bharatnayatam, Odisi, Mohininayatam and Manipuri are based on Jayadeva's Gita Govinda. Perhaps, Indian classical dance cannot complete without Gita Govinda.

Many choreographers and composers of Indian classical dance attempted to compose various classical dances based on Gita Govinda. Guru Amubi was one of the doyens of classical Manipuri dance who composed many classical solo dances based on text of Gita Govinda. Even after Guru Amubi, many gurus of Manipuri classical dance followed the tradition and composed many dances based on Gita Govinda.

The Progressive Artistes Laboratory, popularly known as PAL, it's latest dance drama production 'Gita Govinda' is the latest attempt to Manipuri classical dance based on Jayadeva's Gita Govinda. However, in this Gita Govinda production, the very personal story of Jayadeva and the original text of Gita Govinda are mixing each other and formed a beautiful text.

If you see PAL's dance drama Gita Govinda you will see a very beautiful visual medium in Manipuri classical dance. Moreover, magical stage technique added another beauty to this dance drama.

The language used in this dance drama was the original Sanskrit words. Most of the younger generations of this State are not familiar with Sanskrit words. However, anybody who witnessed this dance drama had not found any uncomfortable even without knowing any words of Sanskrit. It can tell the story of Jayadeva as well as the text of Gita Govinda. The sweet chanting of Sanskrit hymns and beautiful song of this dance drama enthralled audiences. Beautifully choreograph dances are the another facet of this dance drama.

When flower bloomed in full on stage as it was struck by the arrows of Lord Kamadeva the hall roared with loud clapping and the audience gave a good appreciation. In addition, the beautiful dance of Lord Krishna (Manju Elangbam) and Radha (A Chanchan), and more, the beautiful acting & dance of Jayadeva (Ronald) and Kaamadeva (Basu) entertained the audience spiritually. This younger generation of dancers is the future cream of the Manipuri dance. They are fresh graduates from their institutions but their performance shows their maturity. Moreover, Manju is a PhD student of Shantiniketan while Basu is an MA in Manipuri dance from the same institute.

PAL's Gita Govinda is the second best mega production after Rajarshi Bhagyachandra of director N Tiken Singh's production. Shri N Tiken Singh has already exposed to elite theatre circle of London as a musician. He has vast knowledge of theatre and dance as a music director. So, he toured various countries of the world as part of one of leading London's theatre group as a musician. So, he can mix up Manipuri aesthetics with western aesthetics. We can see his vast knowledge of theatre and dance in his every productions. So, blooming of flower in full on stage is the best manifestation of Indian aesthetics with new technology.

Clarity of concept plays a very important part in Shri Tiken's every production. So, he mixes with the story of poet Jayadeva with the text of Gita Govinda in this new production. While presenting Gita Govinda in dance drama form it is very important to highlight the story of Jayadeva also. The text of Gita Govinda and the story of Jayadeva are interrelated each other. The name of Jayadeva is also mentioned in Gita Govinda also.

Since Shri Tiken Singh, more in music, composed beautiful music of dance drama also.

Two new choreographers are also introduced in this dance drama. Manju Elangbam and Sinam Basu Singh, the two main dancers of this dance drama, worked as a choreographer of this dance drama. It's very uncommon thing among Manipuri dance to use multimedia.

However, A Sharat Singh's multimedia added another face-lift in this dance drama. N Jila's stage design was one of the best stage designs in recent times in Manipuri dance drama. Shri L Ibochouba's lighting system is very common to Manipuri theatre and dance drama. In this dance drama also, Ibochouba's signature in lighting system is clearly shown.

Although, Manipur is rich in dance and music, it is very rare opportunity to see any new production of dance drama. In this juncture, PAL's new production Gita Govinda satisfies art-lovers of this State especially for Manipuri classical dance lovers. Packed house in two shows of Gita Govinda in PAL's complex at Laboikhongangkhong, Imphal showed how much love this dance drama by the audience.

The history of dance drama in Manipur is short but it has long list of dance drama productions. Among them, PAL's Gita Govinda has a special place. This dance drama has given a good enthusiasm to many composer and choreographers of this this State. PAL's Gita Govinda may secure a special place in the memory lane of many art lovers of this State for long time.

Related Ooba Video from PAL:




* Rajmani Ayekpam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on July 15 2012



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