What humanity faces today is the result of our day-to-day karma. For the most part, it is us, humans, who are the reason for natural disasters. How can art play a role in reversing this trend, in taking us to a greater awareness of our actions and their impact on the world? Three artists and three forms—Ottan Thullal, Bharatanatyam and Kathak—come together in a journey, a search for the true path to evolution and understanding in a world where we often feel lost. The path can be found through our daily actions, through constant reflection, through the way we practise our art, through how we collectively balance the needs of the individual, community and environment.
With myth, music and movement, combining elements of theatre, percussion and other allied forms, we seek to show how single-minded, egoistic pursuit for the fulfilment of an individual’s desire can mean disregard for the earth, how seeing the godliness inherent in nature can make us realise the interdependence of part and whole, how only by losing something can we gain something along the way. In the first phase of the performance, we see Pandava prince Bhima in search of the flower sougandhika for his beloved Draupadi, the selfishness of his search and ensuing actions are revealed in his conversation with Hanuman. In single-minded pursuit of a single flower to satisfy his lover's whim, Bhima destroys entire forests along the way. Going from mythic to metaphysical in the second phase, we offer an abstract exploration of Siva the creator, the originator of all nature, showing how every level of his creation is relevant and beautiful. The great cycles of life and time are present in every flower, tree, and forest, the artist discovers. In the third and final phase of the performance, we arrive at how each step of the artistic path—from departure to the discovery of new destinations to eventual return—involves letting go, of ridding oneself physically, mentally, and emotionally of the baggage that comes in the way of knowing the true self—our bodies, our minds and our hearts.
Through this confluence of art forms and artists and the journey we collectively undertake, the performance aims to uphold a certain awareness of our actions, of what we do with our lives and our art. What must change, and what needs to stay the same? What do we need to lose in order to find ourselves, to save ourselves and the world before it’s too late? Therein lies our hope.