Manthana is a Sanskrit term used to depict the act of churning. When prefixed with Mano, it becomes the stirring of and within the mind; an intense, and concentrated movement of thought that upon reaching a crescendo yields the object of desire. Through this inner debate, the protagonist delves into her deepest emotions, churning them with a manic passion that will ultimately lead to ONE answer that will quell all questions.
A spiritual seeker in a chaotic today, our protagonist, the dancer is in turmoil. There is a want to exceed the mundane, the everyday. But the determined pull of digression and diversion exist – both inside and outside. As a dancer, there is a need to be in the outer world, to interact with it, so as to get to a literal stage where it is possible to fully experience a sense of the sublime. However, this fullness of emotion only lasts a moment. And it is in recreating that moment that one is willing to put oneself through all the chaos, all over again.
The questions tumble in quickly.
A finite body, a finite time frame, and a desire to be one with the Infinite. Where does it begin? Where does it end? And how intense is intense enough?
Battling a downward spiral of doubt and despondency, our protagonist churns her emotions to a state of frenzied intensity. Is the emotion stirred intense enough to break the barriers she has erected in her mind? What then, happens next?
All this and much more gets explored through this hour-long production that makes use of traditional Carnatic music from South India, in tandem with the dramatic idiom of Kuchipudi – one of the most celebrated classical dance styles of India. The music and lyric used is the work of saint-poet Thyagaraja - foremost amongst the classical Carnatic vaaggeyakaaras. The lyrical pieces which are otherwise disparate when viewed individually, come together through the time-honoured tradition of vachana, or soliloquy that is distinctive to Kuchipudi.
The musicians who have come together for this mammoth task are Vidushi Smt. Ranjani Sivakumar Siddareddy (Vocals), Vidwan Sri G Gurumurthy (Mridangam), Vidwan Sri D V Prasanna Kumar (Nattuvangam), Vidwan Sri Jayaram Kikkeri (Flute), Vidwan Sri Pradesh Achar (Violin), Vidwan Sri Somashekhar Jois (Konnakkol), and Vidwan Sri Akash Parva (Keyboard and effects). Sound design is by Aravind Studio and Omkaar Sound Studios.
Conceptualized, scripted and choreographed by Bengaluru-based Kuchipudi dancer Srividya Angara Sinha, this novel production aims to move beyond the ephemeral and touch the eternal using the timeless lyric of Thyagaraja and the kinetic theatre of Kuchipudi.