Vinay Varanasi is all set to reveal the real ‘rahasya’ of Chidambaram!

This performance, aimed at fully understanding the ‘chidambara rahasyam,’ will bring together word, music and dance performances as an ‘ode to the heart space’
Chidambara Rahasyam — An Ode to the Heart Space
Chidambara Rahasyam — An Ode to the Heart Space

We’ve been noticing him on social media for a while now. His insights on spirituality and his deep knowledge of our religious spaces, temples in particular, have already got him quite the fan following. But 31-year-old architect-turned-kathaakaar Vinay Varanasi is so much more, as we find out. We catch up with the charismatic storyteller ahead of his latest performance, Chidambara Rahasyam — An Ode to the Heart Space to find out what the multi-disciplinary presentation has in store for the ardent rasika.

Vinay Varanasi
Vinay Varanasi

Chidambara rahasyam, which is a phrase that encapsulates what happens at the Shree Thillai Natarajar Temple, Chidambaram, is a celebration of space in itself and pays homage to the legend of the temple and the story behind how and why Lord Shiva came to dance there. There’s so much written about the temple and how or what the rahasyam (secret) is. But we are taking the conversation further and talking about how anyone, anywhere at anytime in the world can access that rahasyam. We’re trying to establish that the rahasyam is more about deep insight rather than a secret around the aakaasha sthala (ether). This production therefore aims to motivate more questions rather than answer the ones already existing — to allow a space for reflection, so one can understand what Chidambara Rahasyam really could mean and how it can be relevant to anyone on a spiritual journey,” begins the artiste.

Varun Shivakumar
Varun Shivakumar

Vinay prefers the term kathaakaar to describe himself and his journey into this artform was a very organic one. “Ever since I can remember, I have been obsessed with our folklore, mythology and our indigenous stories. I never realised how much I had internalised all of this until a few years ago, when I passionately started sharing stories. I distinguish myself from being a discourse orator. I just share passionately and give just enough to also allow the listener to think,” he tells us.

Sruti Sarathy
Sruti Sarathy

“What we are trying to do at this event on Thursday is to help people connect to what they already know about Chidambaram by creating a space that helps them find a larger placeholder in their individual spiritual journeys. I’ll be heavily borrowing from the symbols, the elements and the ideas of Chidambaram that already exist and hope to help people recognise this space within each one of us,” explains Vinay.

Adamya Ramanand
Adamya Ramanand

Growing up on a steady appetite for Amar Chitra Katha, the seed for storytelling was sown really young for Vinay. “This artform took on new meaning for me as I grew up, when I realised that the stories were less about the action and the plot itself, but much more about a way of communicating an idea,” avers the artiste who will be performing with musicians and a dancer at Thursday’s event.

Spoorthi Rao
Spoorthi Rao

“I realised that there’s so much scope for a narrative to take support from another artform and for it to become a very meaningful experience for both the performer and the performed to. I slowly got into the practice of organising programs with different performing artistes and on different themes and then asked myself: what can these artforms bring out differently for someone experiencing this? The response to these experiments has just been amazing and has motivated me to do more. On Thursday, the program will follow the format of an intersection between storytelling , music and dance. Some ideas will be best explained through narrative, some others through music and yet others through dance. Every artiste has been given the space to use their artform to elevate the entire experience. It has been designed as a seamless blend between the three,” Vinay concludes.  

Vinay Varanasi will be performing with Spoorthi Rao (vocals), Varun Shivakumar (dance), Sruti Sarathy (violin) and Adamya Ramanand (mridangam).

INR 150 onwards. January 25. 6 pm onwards. At ADA Rangamandira, JC Road.

Email: romal@newindianexpress.com
X: @elromal

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