In a transcendent evening that merged the realms of art and spirituality, the Sanjukta Sinha Dance Company transported the audience into a world of divine love with their mesmerising performance ‘Leela’ that was premiered at Tagore Hall in Ahmedabad recently. Conceptualised and choreographed by the talented Sanjukta Sinha, it was a profound exploration of the deep connection between Lord Krishna and his ardent Gopis. ‘Leela’ served as a testament to the transformative power of dance in conveying spiritual messages, and it left an indelible mark on every heart fortunate enough to witness it.
The performance unfolded through five captivating pieces, each telling a unique facet of the divine love story. The evening began with “Krishnamayee,” a piece that beautifully depicted Lord Krishna’s enchanting flute playing, transforming the night into a playful hide-and-seek game with the Gopis. As Krishna mysteriously vanished, the Gopis and Radha embarked on a poignant search, delving into the spiritual realm of virah – the intense feeling of separation. Through this act, Krishna conveyed that love transcends mere physical presence; it is a profound spiritual connection. The Gopis and Radha, who once felt distanced from the divine, grasped the spiritual essence of love that extends far beyond the boundaries of the mortal body.
In “Vrajgopi,” the moonlit meadows of Vrindavan became a canvas for the joyous celebration of the Gopis and Radha. Their graceful dance, accompanied by the melodious jingling of anklets, created a kaleidoscope of devotion, uniting the earthly with the divine. Their synchronised movements and rhythmic melodies established a celestial atmosphere, aligning them with the cosmic dance of the universe. This performance was a heartfelt offering of love, an expression of unwavering devotion, and an enduring symbol of the timeless quest for divine love that knows no bounds.
“Madhuban” transported the audience to a realm where love defied all limits. Here, masculine and feminine energies converged in a dance of eternal devotion, embodying the universal truth that love transcends boundaries. Devotees immersed themselves in the bliss of loving the divine, transcending the physical realm to unite their souls in a cosmic symphony of affection. This eternal play of love connected humanity with the divine, echoing through the ages as a timeless testament to the universal truth of love and devotion.
In “Pushpavatika,” the banks of the river Yamuna came alive in the moonlit night, thanks to Krishna’s enchanting flute. The harmonious dance guided by Krishna’s flute saw the moon, stars, river, and all living beings sway in unison. Boundaries between the earthly and the divine blurred, creating an ethereal spectacle that etched a magical tale into the hearts of those fortunate enough to witness this enchanting night.
The final piece, “Vrindavan,” marked the poignant moment of Krishna’s departure, leaving Radha and the Gopis consumed by a profound longing. Amidst the flickering diyas, their boundless love and sorrowful yearning intertwined. Yet, hope shone brightly in the depths of their souls, for they knew that their love transcended time and distance, and that Krishna would one day return, fulfilling their longing in his divine embrace once more.
As the curtains were drawn, the stage resembled a heavenly realm. The well-lit stage, adorned with beautiful dancers clad in white Anarkalis, each holding lotuses, transported the audience to a different dimension. The set design and production transcended the boundaries of traditional performances. The choice of costumes played a crucial role in making the performance perfect, with silhouettes, layers, and clothing in general adding to the visual splendour. Sanjukta’s enigmatic stage presence and skilful use of space added depth to every moment on stage.
Integral to the performance were the chosen ragas and laya, the very essence of Indian classical dance. The selection of ragas, including Kaafi, Yaman, and Desh, was more than a musical choice; it was a spiritual one. Each raga evoked specific emotions, weaving them into the narrative of love and devotion. The three distinct laya (tempos: vilambit, madhya, and drut) added depth and emotion to each piece, guiding the audience through a profound emotional journey. Vilambit laya embodied the longing and anticipation, Madhya laya the celebration of love, and Drut laya the frenzied ecstasy of union.
The production was led by Sanjukta Sinha, whose vision and choreography breathed life into each performance. Her troupe of exceptionally talented dancers, including Krutika Ghanekar, Vidhi Shah, Pankaj Sihag, Hiren Gajjar, Shantanu Gosavi, Vihanga Rukshan, Tirtha Juwatkar, Divya Prajapati, Yadnya Khadilkar, Prerana Kaushik, Riya Patel, and Radhika Chauthaiwale, executed their roles with precision and devotion, presenting a seamless blend of art and spirituality. The interplay of fire and water, slow and fast movements, and abhinaya and speed were key elements that won the hearts of the audience. Sanjukta’s impeccable footwork, a vital aspect of Kathak, was showcased with mastery. Her deep knowledge of tala made her a true perfectionist on stage, captivating the audience with her skilful and emotive performance.
The inclusion of live musicians elevated ‘Leela’ to an amazing level. Samiullah Khan’s vocals, Mohit Gangani’s tabla, Ashish Gangani’s pakhawaj, Parth Sarkar’s flute, and Amir Khan’s sarangi formed the backbone of this mesmerising production. Their jugalbandi with the dancers created a symphony that transcended the boundaries of the stage.
The musicians breathed life into the performance, their instruments acting as conduits for divine expression. Samiullah Khan’s soul-stirring vocals were like a prayer, invoking the very essence of devotion. Mohit Gangani’s tabla and Ashish Gangani’s pakhawaj provided the heartbeat of the performance, infusing each step with rhythm and grace. Parth Sarkar’s flute and Amir Khan’s sarangi painted emotions in the air, their melodies weaving seamlessly with the dancers’ movements. The communication through music between the musicians was a delightful experience, adding depth to the performance.
In conclusion, ‘Leela’ was more than a dance performance; it was a spiritual journey, a celebration of love, and a reminder of life itself. It invited the audience to immerse themselves in the divine dance, savouring the timeless beauty of love’s transcendence. This mystical odyssey awakened, stirred, and manoeuvred consciousness towards cosmic opulence, leaving a lasting impact on every heart in the packed auditorium. It was a night that will be cherished as a divine testament to the eternal power of love and devotion, made all the more magical by the musicians whose instruments spoke the language of the heart.