You make me endless, such is your pleasure” (Translation from Tagore’s Gitanjali, Poem 1) To pay a painstaking tribute to Gurudev Rabidranath Tagore on his 150th birth anniversary celebration, Chennai-based ace Bharatnatyam danseuse Anita Ratnam choreographs an aesthetically designed offering, woven from the bard’s casket of creative gems. Recently premiered at Kolkata’s well-known G.D.Birla Sabhaghar auditorium, Ratnam’s rendition drew critical acclaim and accolades. Responding to her performance titled Handful of Dust, the internationally renowned dancer shares: “This humble homage on Gurudev is one in a million such compositions, compiled by many other Indian artistes, who too have been deeply touched, inspired and moved by Tagore’s treasure-trove of works at some point of time or the other. As for me, I’ve always admired his multitude of works till the present moment.”
Having grown up in South India, outside the cauldron of Bengal (where Tagore’s glory is still given a deified status and the man himself, revered as a sacrosanct figure), the dancer feels that the Nobel Laureate’s rich magnum opuses and timeless verses still need an expansive amount of translation to make it more accessible to the rest of the country. “Other provinces at large are still left deprived of reading Tagore’s repertoire in parts, let alone in its entirety. Agreed it is not humanly possible to grasp a versatile genius’s depth of creations and understand its underlying essence in a lifetime. But at least we can try to scratch the surface, which becomes inescapably unwieldy in want of extensive interpretations and paraphrased versions of his volumes of literary texts,” she says. “After the lift-up of a rigid copyright act, things however, seem to breathe easy and give way to leniency from the erstwhile straight-jacketed codes and set parameters to be followed. Even my fellow Bengali artiste friends, scholars and connoisseurs hailing from this part of the world have repeatedly rued over the strict possession of the Tagorean legacy, which had noticeably remained confined within a clique of handful few staunch custodians. Now hopefully, the trend is changing to augur well for a better future. And to welcome a rewarding tomorrow, the next-gen posterity has to possibly carry forth the Tagorean heritage amidst contemporary developments, progressive experiments and futuristic evolutions,” she opines with a note of observation. At the formal request of the cultural wing of the Union government, Ratnam gave her consent to dedicate her act in honour of the bard.
Full report here Asian Age