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Naachiyaar Next (2019)
Duration: 85 minutes
Concept, Choreography, Research and Text: Dr. Anita Ratnam
Performance: Dr. Anita Ratnam and Arangham Dance Theatre
Sridhar Vasudevan as Perialwar
Madhusudhanan Kalaichelvan as the ARAYER and Soothsayer
Dancers: Archana Raja, Tanya Saxena, Sushmita Suresh, Simran Sivakumar, Reshma G, Priya Kaul, Sruthy Anand, Madhumita
Vocal: Roshni Ganesh
Nattuvangam. L Subhasri
Mridangam: N K Kesavan
Flute: Atul Kumar
Lighting: Victor Paulraj
Costumes: Sandhya Raman
Props: Y Mohan
The opening Pallavi in Ragam Naatai is from a Pushpanjali composed by Guru Swamimalai SK Rajaratnam
Traditional verses from DIVYA PRABANDHAM
Ritual verses drawn from KAISIKA NATAKAM "Namavali chanting"
Music swarams composed by Roshni Ganesh
Jathis composed by N K Kesavan, Venkatachalapathy, Adyar K Lakshman
Purappadu section And Tillana composed by O S Arun
Re-telling is like a translation. Rather a trans-creation. A remarkable
life, saturated with emotion, passion and poetry lived over 1000 years
ago - where the landscape of devotion and personal worship were
forbidden for women- is a challenge. Even more so, when her words have
already been seen, heard, experienced through generations of artistes
and philosophers. ANDAL aka GODA, is a phenomenon, whose allure and
appeal do not dim through the vagaries of time.
As among the very early feminist voices whose searing love and devotion
to her Ranganatha/Krishna made the heavens tremor and the Lord Himself
surrender to her will, ANDAL remains an enigma and a beloved icon of the
I performed ANDAL for my arangetram in 1965. From that time, she has
been my companion, shadowing my life through continents and across seas.
To date, I have produced or performed in 5 full length dance-theatre
evenings on her singular story. So why another?
In 2003, I attempted an ambitious presentation with 12 dancers and 6
musicians. In this, there was ANDAL (played by myself) and her alter
ego/unconscious mind (acted by Revathy Sankkaran). This template was a
device I used to cross illuminate the darker shades of her later years
in which the words of her searing passion turn to thoughts of
self-mutilation and a final dissolve into her beloved. NAACHIYAAR was
very well received by the audiences in several Indian cities with
Soon after, I embarked on my PhD and dissolved my dance company,
preferring to concentrate on solo evenings which could quilt my many
interests in movement, theatre, voice, chanting and sound.
Now 17 years later, I have returned to ANDAL's allure. She has become a
teen icon for stubborn passion, poetic brilliance and an intensity of
ideology that tore apart her conservative community in Sri Villiputtur.
Her poems have been translated, discussed and argued upon. She is a
continuing flashpoint for female desire, personal BHAKTI and a daring
transgression across borders of conformity and decorum.
I do not play ANDAL in this version. Her life was dissolved even before
she turned 20 and so I have chosen a talented young dancer for the part.
I am stepping into the very large shoes of Revathy Sankkaran who
created an indelible impression with her presence almost 2 decades ago.
I have incorporated some aspects of her poetry that have rarely been
touched upon before. The annual ritual of the KURATHI/GYPSY soothsayer,
which is a practice in the Sri Villiputtur temple has been incorporated.
Ritual celebrations like a temple procession have been retained from
the original version as have some aspects of the choreography.
A new group of dancers from Bengaluru, New Delhi and Chennai have
assembled as co-creators in my vision. I have my trusted core team of
technical support and musical inputs. As familiar and beloved ANDAL's
words are to me, she challenges me each time - daring me to make newer
Will I make Her smile?
Dr. Anita R Ratnam
Girl. Poet. Goddess
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