Kathakali meets Flamenco to give Mahabharata a feminist twist

Photo Credit : wikipedia.org

New Delhi: Kerala’s quintessential art form, Kathakali, will meet its Spanish counterpart Flamenco to give a feminist twist to Mahabharata in the capital on Friday.

Titled ‘Draupadi’, the hour-long show combines techniques and aesthetics of the traditional Kerala dance-drama and Flamenco. Themed on an episode from the Mahabharata, it brings together the ideas of Madrid-based director Cesar Lorente Raton and his team comprising a ballerina along with half-a-dozen artistes.

Hosted by Kerala Tourism , the collaborative work will have renowned Spanish danseuse Bettina Castaño in the role of Draupadi, the wife of the five Pandava brothers.

Cesar, who shares nearly a decade-long relation with Kerala, has been artistically cooperating with Kerala Tourism from 2004. “I took one episode that I had seen being performed in Kathakali — and used it to express my concern about horrific crimes and abuse against women in all parts of the planet,” he said.

Cesar noted that Draupadi, in the Vyasa classic, was made into a commodity to be pawned during a gamble by her husband. “She is later humiliated in public. It shows how women were treated as objects as far back as 3,000 years ago. I chose this story, as it has a universal theme, which anyone can relate to,” he said.

Bijulal Narayana Pillai and Biju Kumar Gopalan Nair are the stage artistes from Kerala who would be performing. Accompanying them will be Sumesh Gopalan on the chenda and Rajeev Nalinakshan on the maddalam, besides Juan Gotan and Jesus Garrido on the guitar. Indian pop-star Suneeta Rao and singer Radakrishnan Nanu will be lending their voices.

The production will be staged at Kerala House at 7 PM.