Coming up soon is an arts festival that unabashedly unsubscribes to the arts for entertainment credo. Instead,the Mohana Festival will comprise dance,theatre and dance-theatre that will appeal to the head and attempt to change the heart.
The three-day festival,beginning November 9,includes a play on tigers,forests,tribals and human survival called Nights End,and a dance-theatre called Yashodhara,on the wife of Siddhartha,the prince who became Gautam Buddha. Both pieces are by Gowri Ramnarayan,a Chennai-based director,known for her well-crafted plays with strong sociopolitical comments.
The last day features a dance premiere an Odissi performance,titled Shweta Mukti-Feminine Glory of Nirvana,which explores Nirvana from the point of view of five women, says Arshiya Sethi,the Founder and Managing Director of Kri Foundation,which is organising the Mohana Festival.
Kavita Dwibedi,a Delhi-based dancer,says Shweta Mukti was born after years of wondering about the people,especially the women,behind Buddhas success. The 50-minute-long solo piece comprises five episodes,each revolving around one woman Gautami,Buddhas foster mother who ultimately becomes his disciple,Yashodhara,Buddhas beautiful queen who must accept the truth that her husband belongs not only to her but the entire universe,the arrogant Magandi,who falls in love with Buddha and tries to allure him,the rich courtesan Amrapali,and Prakriti,a shoemakers daughter and a social outcast who becomes the first female ambassador of equality and liberty in Buddhas Sangha.
Sethi points out that the Shweta Mukti also contains the festivals ethos of focusing on the inbetweeners or the arts that do not fit into the traditional mould. Shweta Mukti,for instance,goes beyond using Sanskrit only and comprises English,Oriya,Prakrit and Hindi poetry as well, she says.
Mohana Festival will take place at Amphitheatre and
Stein Auditorium of India Habitat Centre from November 9-11.