Gita Govinda: in Manipur

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Gita Govinda: in Manipur

By : Rajmani Ayekpam

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

The Sangai Express

Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda is one of finest literary pieces based on madhur ras of Lord Krishna and Radha. It has attracted 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. 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 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.

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.

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