Kalaa Utsavam, Singapore’s annual Indian festivals of arts, in its 15th edition, brings the tale of the most loved character from the Ramayana. Anjaneyam - Hanuman’s Ramayana, the curtain raiser performance for Kalaa Utsavam 2017, will be enacted by dancers featuring a tale portrayed through the eyes of the revered monkey God Lord Hanuman.
Anjaneyam is the Indian mythology’s epic tale of Ramayana from the viewpoint of Hindu religion’s extraordinary God, Lord Hanuman and will open Kalaa Utsavam 2017. Following the life and adventures of Hanuman, Anjaneyam – Hanuman’s Ramayana, co-produced by Esplanade and Apsaras Arts, comes to be a part of the Kalaa Utsavam 2017. The story told through dance and music starts from the time of Hanuman’s birth, to his meeting with the exiled Prince Rama, and to the heroic battle against Ravana and his forces.
Aravinth Kumarasamy, the artistic director of the performance, will showcase cultures coming together. “Our idea was to tell the story of the Ramayana from a South East Asian perspective as seen in India and Indonesia. We wanted to have a different take on Ramayana. We thought it’ll be interesting to see from a different character’s point of view and Hanuman is a popular character. It is revered as the Monkey God among Chinese, Indonesian and Thailand,” said Kumarasamy.
What compels the audience to watch the unique performance to see cultures coming together. “It’s four years of research. Audiences these days also want something new, that’s the challenge that makes us look for something fresh,” Kumarasamy added.
Conceptualised by Apsaras Arts, this cross-cultural production puts together a creative team from around Asia including Era Dance Theatre (Singapore), Kalakshetra Repertory Theatre (India) and Bimo Dance Theatre (Indonesia). It features an arresting juxtaposition of Indian and Southeast Asian depictions of the epic, told through Bharatanatyam and Javanese dance and set to a stirring, original score.
“Kalaa Utsavam is critical for Singapore because it gives a platform to showcase the best. Best from all over the world and all genres of the art,” shared the director.
Launched in 2002 as a three-day festival, Kalaa Utsavam has since grown into a 10-day festival. When asked about the changes seen between the years, Kumarasamy said, “What remains the same over the years is the interesting programming for all ages, for every taste of Indian arts. What has changed over the years is we have a lot of home-grown artists who’ve been creating and collaborating with their counterparts in India.”
Anjaneyam – Hanuman’s Ramayana is choreographed by Mohanapriyan Thavarajah, Jayanthi Subrahmaniam, Osman Abdul Hamid and Hari Padman. Abhishek Raguram and Savita Narasimhan are the lead vocals, Dr Rajkumar Bharati is the music composer and Sai Sharavanam for Music Co-Direction and Sound Design.
Lyrics are in Hindi, Tamil and Sanskrit and it is translated in English and projected on unobtrusive surtitle screens.
Watch the epic dance form on November 17 at 8 pm at Esplanade Theatre.