Shilarupini - The Story of Ahalya
Dance Theatre Production
40 mins, 1996
Concept and Choreography: Anita Ratnam
Narrator and Writer: Vasanthi Sankarnarayanan
Music: O. S. Arun
Inspired from a short story in Malayalam by: K. B. Sreedevi
Stage version in English and Malayalam: Vasanthi Shankaranarayanan
Stage version in Tamil: Revathi Sankaran
Costumes: Susan Tait
Lighting/Design: M. Natesh
Ahalya is a forgotten character who receives a passing mention in the Ramayana written thousands of years ago. This twentieth century use of Ahalya as a metaphor for patriachy, exploitation and society's double standards carries the story to a surprising climax. Most dialogues on women end with hope, though reality often proves to be the opposite. In the trap of modernity - science and progress - women are caught in a double bind in the home and outside. They are expected to be superwomen.
The choreography is based on elements of traditional Bharatanatyam. Spoken Malayalam words are used as punctuation between music and movement.
The narrative is at different levels, music, words and movement, each of which may not be directly related to the others.