SITA – Insight into the life of Sita
By Meenakshi Palaniappan
Was bliss to be back at the Esplanade yesterday to watch Apsaras Arts Dance Company 's digital production of Sita. We got a glimpse into Ravi Varma's beautiful paintings and watched the art come alive through dance.
The production took us back to our rich mythology, not just to celebrate but also to ponder and be disturbed by some aspects. Ramayana is beautiful but Sita's voice is silent for much of the text. Ravi Varma's paintings allow us to wonder about Sita further, what might have gone on in her mind. The dance brought these 'wonderings' to life.
While all the "painting dances" were beautiful, it was the piece where Ravana abducts Sita and where Mother Earth takes back Sita that really moved me.
For the former, Sita's captivity was emphasised by the fact that the dancer could only move as Ravana did and only within a small radius. Furthermore she had her hands behind her back much of the time. Hand movements are very much part of Bharatanatyam, so for the dancer to dance with her hands 'tied' really conveys Sita's lack of freedom. Her face was full of agony, yet that dance was so graceful. Just masterful.
For the latter, ah, the mother daughter duet was touching, heart wrenching in fact, for it showed how Sita found unconditional love with her mother, not her husband.
Kudos to the team and thank you for a beautiful piece. Looking forward to many more Aravinth Sir!
SITA Beautiful Blend of Technology and Dance
By Vidhya Venkat
It is almost a week since we saw SITA - selected paintings by Raja Ravi Varma by Apsaras Arts. Firstly it was so refreshing to be back at the Esplanade recital studios , meeting some live audience and watching this digital production after a gap of many months.
SITA is a first in many aspects - digital CGI production , remote control between Singapore and India , all costumes had to be made in Singapore - these are probably a few .
To me,it was a beautiful blend of technology and dance . It was a seamless blend . Each painting sprung to life and went back once the dance was over . I found that fascinating .
There were a lot of moments in the production which made an impact on me personally.
- the part where Rama n Sita meet for the first time with the song Annalum Nokkinaal avalum nokkinal ..
-the part where Ravana lifts Sita . The graphics were very well done.
-Sita in Ashokavanam when she asks - Was it all a mirage ?
-the last scene when Rama pleads with Sita and she implored Mother Earth to take her back . The choice of a thillana there was just perfect.
These are just a few of the things which stood out . There are many more .
This production just stands to prove that arts has survived the Covid crisis to a great extent. This production was turned around to suit the times . It was a big challenge to get the dancers, dance without any sets , just a green floor and cameras around and having to have them turn around in many directions. The musicians and composers sitting in Chennai and belting out a wonderful score. As always brilliant music by Sri Rajkumar Bharathi sung more beautifully by Bombay Jayashri , G Srikanth and Keerthana Vaidyanathan, music direction by Sai Shravanam, filming and editing by Visual Beats Ltd , Choreography and costumes at its best by none other than Mohanapriyan Thavarajah and creative direction by Aravinth Kumarasamy.
A special shout out to the members of Apsaras who have been part of this production. And finally congratulations to all the SITAs - Kshirja Govind, Nikita Menon, Ashmita Jayaprakash, Janani Arunkumar and Devapriya Appan . Other dancers - Maanasa Sri Ganesh, Periyachi Roshini, Meera Balasubramanian as Bhumidevi and of course Mohanapriyan as Rama and Ravana .
An afternoon extremely well spent and left the mind wanting to know more and understand more. Congratulations Team SITA.