Nrithyodaya Dance Academy presented Tagore's ‘Chandalika’ in the Bharata Nrityam dance format, incorporating the story of the untoucable girl Chandalika who is blessed by the Buddhist monk, as she reluctantly offers him water to drink. With the usage of both Hindustani and Carnatic music and without deviating from the basic Buddhist philosophy, the dance drama succeeds in elevating to the higher sublime level, as it forms the basis of Buddhism. The programme was presented at the Mysore Association auditorium with the support from the Department of Culture, Government of India.
Directed and choregoraphed by renowned Bharata nrityam exponent, Jayashree Rajagopalan, the dance drama unfolds as to how the buddhist monk meets Chandalika and asks for water, initially Chandalika is astounded as she knows that she is a untouchable who is shunned by society and when she is asked for water, she is quite restless and reluctant but then the monk explains to her that in eyes of the Almighty all men are equal, so she has the right to live a proper life, Chandalika is very excited and immediately offers him water to quench his thrist.
Chandalika becomes quite passionate about the monk and reveals this to her mother, her mother uses witchcraft and black magic and forcibly captures him, the monk suffers both mentally and physically and Chandalika realises her fault and ultimately surrenders herself to the monk as she too becomes a follower of Buddhism. The basic philosophy that Tagore propagates is that all men are equal, irrespective of any caste or creed and he or she can rise on to the higher sublime level, if he so desires.
The lead role of Chandalika was played by Aishwarya, daughter and disciple of Jayashree Rajagopalan, the role of the mother was played by Jayashree herself and the role of the Buddhist monk was played by Parimal Phadke. With the style of Bharata Nrityam and folk dance elements and abhinaya, the dance drama makes interesting viewing. Jayashree as mother played the part extremely well, espeically the negative element was well portrayed with suitable 'netra abhinaya'.
Aishwarya was quite pleasing in her role as Chandalika. The dance drama concluded with the interpretation of Lord Buddha, as one of the 'avatars' of Lord Vishnu in the Dashavataram roopam.