Founded by Rukmini Devi Arundale in 1936, the Chennai-based Kalakshetra Foundation celebrates its 67th annual art festival from Monday, December 21 to Thursday, December 31. This year’s festival theme is ‘the true spirit of art’ and the programs, comprising classical dance dramas, Carnatic music concerts and more, will be streamed from the Foundation’s Bharata Kalakshetra auditorium.
If you’re a connoisseur of classical Indian dance and music, this is one festival you don’t want to miss. Here’s a look at what’s in store.
The festival kicks off on a spiritual note with a dance production Andal Charitram (pictured above) depicting the love and devotion that the young Andal, often celebrated as the South Indian counterpart of Radha or Mirabai, had for Krishna. The legend goes that Andal was none other than the goddess Mahalakshmi herself who went on to marry the Hindu deity Ranganatha of Ranganathaswamy temple and then merged with the idol.
When: Monday, December 21 at 6pm.
The story of how the Pandava prince Bhima met his stepbrother Hanuman during exile with his brothers and wife Draupadi is quite a popular one in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Now, watch it in the form of Kalyanasaugandhikam, a popular kathakali play.
When: Tuesday, December 22 at 6pm.
Jugalbandhi by Pandit Debashish with Shri R Kumaresh
It’s the musical clash between a guitar and a violin as ace slide guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya goes head to head with violin virtuoso R Kumaresh. The former hails from a family of musicians and made his musical debut at the age of four. He is said to possess a strong playing technique that suits different music genres ranging from classical to blues, jazz to folk. Kumaresh is also a child prodigy who played his first concert at just five, completed over 100 stage performances before he turned ten and has a career spanning 43 years playing the violin.
When: Thursday, December 24 at 6pm.
A dance performance from the Hindu epic Ramayana, Sabri Moksham follows the story of the princes of Ayodhya Ram, Lakshman and Ram’s wife Sita as they meet the vulture Jatayu when they’re in exile. It details the tale of how the ruler of Lanka Ravan kidnaps Sita. Jatayu pursues him and is mortally wounded. The performance moves from Jatayu’s sacrifice to an elderly ascetic Sabari, who the brothers meet on their search for Sita and how Ram blesses her with divine vision.
When: Monday, December 28 at 6pm.
Hindustani Flute by Rakesh Chaurasia
Renowned Indian flautist Rakesh Chaurasia learned the art under the guidance of his uncle, Hariprasad Chaurasia when he was just four. He went on to give his first performance two years later.
When: Tuesday, December 29 at 6pm.
View the rest of the events of the Kalakshetra December Fest 2020 here.