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SITA-s - Synopsis
a Neo Bharatam
Through the lens of Sita, the timeless
icon of womanhood, sacrifice, beauty, faith, constance and courage,
refracts and re-weaves the many strands of story, epic, myth, womanism
and received lore. Five women are sketched in this work... Mandodari,
Ahalya, Manthara, Surpanakha and the eternal Sita, who holds them all
the acclaimed Neo Bharatam work of NEELAM in 2006, Anita returns to a
known and beloved theme which she colours with her palette of eclectic
accents through movement, life experience and theatre training.
A MILLION SITA-s is a reminder that
this Indian heroine from a story, jumped out of the pages of an epic to
cast her shadow in popular media, modern politics and social issues. SITA
lives today in all Indian women and perhaps, in women around the world.
In most retellings of Sita's story,
she is portrayed as submissive, sad and weeping copiously. These tears
represent her virtue and suffering as inseparable from each other. Mirroring
Sita's misery in modern day television and films, Indian heroines also
weep copiously. This stereotypical weeping symbolizes a devoted and virtuous
woman which stems from a deep rooted patriarchal and mysoginistic tradition.
The Victorian model was also framed within the phrase that "men work, women
weep." Prince Rama, the hero of his story also wept as do many modern heroes
in film and life.
A MILLION SITA-s is not
a feminist bashing of Rama. I believe that no culture or people who have
revered and loved this story for centuries can be foolish and blind for
so long as to admire a bad man. A MILLION SITA-s is a look at the iconic
woman whose life and influence has jumped out of the pages of a story to
occupy the minds of historians, philosophers, painters, social scientists,
dancers, musicians, bards, architects, teachers and the common human being.
A MILLION SITA-s is a refraction
of the many women who surround her and without whose interventions the
crucial events in this immortal Adi Kavya would not have
occurred. The solo dance-theatre work, developed and performed in my own
style of NEO BHARATAM, will look at Mandodari, Ahalya, Manthara,
Surpanakha and Sita, as the fulcrum who stands at the epicenter of this
majestic and sweeping
story of love, honour, courage, treachery and sacrifice.
A MILLION SITAs has the promise and
premise for an evening of dance, theatre, music, visuals and performance
design that will bring hidden and surprising accents to this much told
and retold story.
- Dr. Anita Ratnam