Mythology and the migrant

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Bollywood in Melbourne

Swastika Institute of Dance’s Magical Journey with Krishna was an enchanting dance drama that followed a family’s journey from Mumbai to Sydney

A Magical Journey with Krishna, a dance drama produced by Swastika Institute of Dance, was showcased on 27 August at the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta. The timing coincided with Janmashtami, a festival celebrated by Krishna’s aficionados to celebrate the life of Lord Krishna and the eternal triumph of good over evil.

The storyline cleverly juxtaposes the life of Lord Krishna with the lives of a young enthusiastic Indian migrant family. The viewers get a glimpse of the lives of the father, mother and their daughter Sunaina following their move from Mumbai to Sydney.

Along with their personal belongings their bags are packed with their hopes, aspirations, future and faith. The parent’s enthusiasm to leave the subcontinent for an island is not shared by Sunaina who is anxious about leaving her friends and familiar surroundings. Sunaina’s school life with no friends was lonely. Her parents face their own trials and lament about their adopted lifestyle now devoid of luxuries and convenient domestic help. Buoyant spirits weighed down by an arduous life filled with work pressures and anxiety has them all crestfallen. It is the timely appearance of the ubiquitous Lord Krishna that lifts Sunaina’s spirits. A secret aeonian bond is formed between the two as He has the answer to all their tribulations.

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The play with a cast of more than 100 dancers and actors, wearing clinquant costumes sewn by 17 artisans in India, projected a plethora of colours. The nimble troupe went through 10 dance sequences eloquently accompanied by foot-tapping music. The images projected on the backdrops were used dexterity to convey the mood of the four acts.

The comparison of modern day mortals and its dilemmas seem no different to the annals of history of Lord Krishna’s life. Time has not dimmed the common thread of emotions displayed in power struggles, betrayal, disappointment, self-control, hope and love and it is as alive now as was in the days of Lord Krishna. This was so preciously portrayed by Ajesh Sharma as Krishna, father Kunal Mirchandani and mother, Divya Gagula. Daughter Sunaina played by Raina Jain was the sine qua non of the show and should take a bow.

A Magical Journey of Krishna was no doubt a journey for artistic director Sumati Lekhi who put her heart and soul into the production. Kudos to the director Shabnam Tavakol and playwright Kunal Mirchandani (also the father) and all the other cast members and participants for their dedication, discipline and delivery.

The tears, joys and love that went into making the play a resounding success is testament to the story line of compassion and courage… a mortal trait that has the power to renew and change the world.

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