‘Otta-Nilanilppinte Prathishedham’ will be staged by Thudippu – A Human Collective at Kerala Arts and Crafts Village in Thiruvananthapuram

‘Otta-Nilanilppinte Prathishedham’ will be staged by Thudippu – A Human Collective at Kerala Arts and Crafts Village in Thiruvananthapuram

When you are pushed to the edge, you resist. How resilience becomes a tool for survival is the crux of ‘Otta — Nilanilppinte Prathishedham’ , a dance-theatre production by Thudippu – A Human Collective. The Kochi-based group will premiere their production at Kerala Arts and Crafts Village (KACV), Kovalam, as part of the International Dance Festival today.

‘Otta’ is the first independent production of Thudippu, founded by Ponnu Sajeev, Anjali Krishnadas and Divakaran Aravind three years ago. While Ponnu and Anjali are disciples of veteran Mohiniyattam dancer Kanak Rele, Aravind is a Kalari practitioner.

Scene from the dance-theatre production 'Otta'

Scene from the dance-theatre production ‘Otta’
| Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The story revolves around three characters from the Mahabharata — Bhima, one of the Pandavas, Hidimbi, the demoness whom he marries while in exile in the forest, and Ghatotkacha, their son, and how they fight their own battles, both internal and external. When Bhima leaves Hidimbi behind in the forest, she brings up Ghatotkacha on her own. Later, Ghatotkacha joins his father in the battle of Kurukshetra against the Kauravas, and wreaks havoc on the enemies before he gets killed. Ponnu, Anjali and Aravind play the three key characters.

Inner turmoil

“We explore the mindscapes of the three characters. The all-powerful Bhima is submissive; he is in a dilemma over deserting Hidimbi and goes through a gamut of emotions when he meets their son for the first time on the battlefield. Hidimbi, meanwhile, loves Bhima even though he killed her brother, Hidimba. A strong woman, she brings up Ghatotkacha all by herself. Ghatotkacha, who has grown up in the forest with his mother, has apprehensions about moving to another world where he is going to meet his father for the first time,” says Anjali.

While Bhima’s and Hidimbi’s characters are presented through Mohiniyattam, Ghatolkacha’s is staged through Kalaripayattu. “We have used a blend of how Kalaripayattu conditions the body of an actor and its combat techniques. In the Mohiniyattam section, we have moved away from the traditional lasya-oriented format,” Anjali says.

Scene from the dance-theatre production 'Otta'

Scene from the dance-theatre production ‘Otta’
| Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

She adds that the inspiration for ‘Otta’ came from a temple dedicated to Hidimbi at Manali in Himachal Pradesh. “She is like a guardian angel for the devotees. In ‘Otta’ we have attempted to show that she is not an ordinary woman. But the work is not just about these three characters and their struggles. It is dedicated to communities who are fighting for survival. We are talking about how they use resilience as their weapon when they are cut off from social, political and cultural spaces by those in power,” she explains.

The 25-minute production has lyrics and dialogues by Ganesh Malayath and music by Vishnu Sivasankar.

Otta’ will be staged at KACV, Kovalam, today at 7.30pm.



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By Dipak

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