Classical dance, science and video games come together in Antariksha Sanchar, a fantasy Bharatanatyam opera
The son of Bharatanatyam exponent, Jayalakshmi Eshwar, visual artist and musician Avinash Kumar was heavily influenced by Carnatic dance music and mythology. An outcome of this was the mythological video game Antariksha Sanchar: Transmissions in Space, that is based on the life of mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. With a desire to collaborate, he approached his mother to create a dance production based on the game. This gave birth to Antariksha Sanchar, a fantasy Bharatanatyam opera in association with Red Bull, that premieres in Bengaluru tomorrow.
The game follows a family living in a temple town (inspired by Madurai) in the early 1900s and draws on the theorems by Ramanujan. Set to the music of MSR Murthy, and visuals by Avinash, the opera too is an amalgamation of sci-fi, culture and ancient Sanskrit texts. The show has dancers performing in front of stunning visuals and text, as a live band plays orchestral Carnatic fusion. The backdrop features fantastical representations of South Indian temples, goddesses and steampunk-style machines.
“The narrative takes the audience on a multisensory journey to outer space, with the protagonist, Ramanujan, using the power of his dreams to navigate the challenges presented to him. It expands on mythological references to flight in Indian scriptures and popular culture,”Jayalakshmi tells us. There are many challenges in bringing together art with technology. “But the greatest challenge we foresaw earlier — which was of combining music and visuals with an ancient performative framework — actually turned out to be a great pleasure,” Avinash shares.
Rs. 500 upwards. September 28, 7.30 pm. At Good Shepherd Auditorium, Residency Road