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Bharatanatyam showcase 'Putran' explores trials of Indian mythical sons

Heralding the return of live performances in the Lion City, The Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society (SIFAS) Productions is presenting The Master Series – a sequence of curated showcases of Indian music, dance, visual arts and theatre, featuring the best of SIFAS’ talents.

Each event will highlight a different Indian art form with a theme, and will attempt to blend elements from other genres, according to SIFAS.

At SIFAS, he has choreographed and trained many alumni and senior students for performances at prestigious venues in Singapore.
At SIFAS, Guru PN Vikas has choreographed and trained many alumni and senior students for performances at prestigious venues in Singapore. Photo courtesy: SIFAS

"The Master Series invites all to experience live classical Indian arts programmes with a re-imagined lens in the curation of performances, which will delve deeper into sources of inspiration from literature, poetry, language, history, movement and form. Not only will this serve as a platform for artists to perform and promote Indian arts, it is also an opportunity to strengthen collaborations across genres, cultures and communities," Menaka Gopalan, Executive Director, SIFAS, said.

The second showcase in this series is 'Putran – The Rising Son' performed by Guru PN Vikas (Lead Dancer/Choreographer), Guru Nishanthie Jeganathan (Supporting Dancer), Guru Sushanth Parambath (Lead Vocals), Guru P K Geethanathan (Nattuvangam), Guru Ganesh Kumar NNR (Violin), Guru Manjula Surendra (Veena), Sai Akhilesh (Mridangam), and Sreenivasan (Flute); music compositions for select pieces were created by Guru Sushanth Parambath, Guru Shibani Roy and Lavanya Balachandran and some lyrics have been penned by Professor Raghuraman (Chennai, India). The script and the narration is by Guru Lalitha Venketasubramanian. 

The performance is a unique Bharatanatyam dance-musical showcase that explores the trials and tribulations of famous sons of Indian mythology and contemplates on what sets them apart, as seen via a mother's lens.

'Putran – The Rising Son' will take place on June 25–26, 2022, at 7 pm at the SIFAS Annexe Theatre at the historic Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hall. 

"We reflect on the lessons from their unique tales and ponder on what then do we expect from an ideal son," Guru PN Vikas said.

Guru PN Vikas, a Doordarshan-graded artiste, graduated with a First-Class Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma from The Kalakshetra Foundation. At SIFAS, he has choreographed and trained many alumni and senior students for performances at prestigious venues in Singapore.

Thanking the team of musicians, fellow faculty members at SIFAS and the curator of the Master Series, Menaka Gopalan and her team, Guru Vikas said that storytelling is inherent in Bharatanatyam thus allowing for these varied stories to be vividly expressed through performances.
Thanking the team of musicians, fellow faculty members at SIFAS and the curator of the Master Series, Menaka Gopalan and her team, Guru Vikas said that storytelling is inherent in Bharatanatyam thus allowing for these varied stories to be vividly expressed through performances. Photo courtesy: SIFAS

Speaking to Connected to India, he said the primary message he wished to convey through the upcoming performance was to present stories that could inspire and be relevant to today’s youth as well as the silver generation.

"Times are changing rapidly, and with it, society and its norms. I wanted to delve into the historical examples of “exemplary” sons, contemplate on their merit in our current times and stimulate discussions on society’s notions of an 'ideal' son," he added. 

The concept of 'Putran' (son) as a theme for a solo concert is something Guru Vikas had been wanting to explore for some time. This was an excellent opportunity for him to broaden his repertoire and feature a little-used theme.

"Starting off as a production which initially showcased only the famous sons of mythology, Putran has an added dimension now; presenting these sons as seen through their mothers’ unique lens," he said.

According to Guru Vikas, the story of 'Putran' is told through the characters Ganesha, Rama, Karna and Krishna. Each of these characters is a unique son with unique personalities. They represent human qualities that are universally sought after, and also symbolise what new parents dream of inculcating in their offspring.

"Putran reflects the deep-rooted fears and desires of young mothers, who albeit dream of an 'ideal' son, but are unsure of what constitutes that ideal. Technological advancement has unified the world, yet divided the family. Putran does not aim to provide answers but simply to provoke deeper contemplations on certain views which have hereto been taken for granted," Guru Vikas said.

He also said he believes the Puranas and mythological tales are essentially instructive as life lessons but also provide timeless and enduring models of behaviour for us to emulate. In an era where inclusiveness is a byword, Putran asks us to ponder how we may view those who may be less than perfect.

Thanking the team of musicians, fellow faculty members at SIFAS and the curator of the Master Series, Menaka Gopalan and her team, Guru Vikas said that storytelling is inherent in Bharatanatyam thus allowing for these varied stories to be vividly expressed through performances.

"There is also a certain stability, ‘theraav’, a sense of being grounded, in this art form, that lends itself to more profound portrayals of characters, adding a certain depth to the presentation," he added.

Speaking to Connected to India, he said the primary message he wished to convey through the upcoming performance was to present stories that could inspire and be relevant to today’s youth as well as the silver generation.
Speaking to Connected to India, Guru Vikas said the primary message he wished to convey through the upcoming performance was to present stories that could inspire and be relevant to today’s youth as well as the silver generation. Photo courtesy: SIFAS

The Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society (SIFAS) is a pioneer institution of Classical Indian music, dance and visual arts in Singapore. It is a 73-year-old non-profit Indian cultural organisation with a pan-Indian curriculum of 18 disciplines, reflecting the cultural diversity of the rich and ancient Indian heritage.

SIFAS Productions is an independent production and performance arm of SIFAS, promoting the development of artistic talents, to create and present productions of a wide range of Indian Classical Arts forms. 

Tickets are available for the upcoming shows online.

Read more Singapore News and Entertainment News here

Author
Tushaar Kuthiala
Tushaar Kuthiala – Associate Editor

Tushaar has extensive experience as a journalist and in founding two start-up newspapers. He has developed editorial models for both copy and content, and has written several articles, news reports on a wide range of topics. He is a graduate of St. Stephen’s College and earned a post-graduate diploma in TV Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Chennai. He has worked as a special correspondent based in New Delhi with Daily World, an international media organisation. 

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