Art is something beautiful and out-of-the-ordinary. A creative expression that awaits appreciation for its beauty and emotional power! The finer aspect, if one will… Really, without audience, without a connoisseur casting an eye on it the cycle of creativity is incomplete.
But art also carries abstractness and a mystique and this distances people from it. Imagine for example a serious Raag rendition at the somber scarlet hour of early nightfall. Raag melodies have ‘assigned’ time zones for reaching their emotion-evoking potential. Sounds beautiful! However the path to pleasure may seem like an effort to many. But when the same melody is illustrated through dance, the essence may find a beautiful form, grabbing the viewers. Not a rule, of course. Just another approach to ‘view’ music. Dance!
To me, Classical music is deeply sensory with its unseen dimension in time and space. The reason perhaps it is perceived as ‘difficult’ or ‘distant’ by many. Dance on the other hand manifests in the three dimensions commonly knowns as height, width and depth. It is interesting how good music can only be enjoyed with eyes closed, and Dance one needs to watch with eyes wide open. There are entries and exists of beautiful figures and there is the play of color and costumes. The symbolism, the enigma, the surprise all unfold in a unique way. There is engaging drama in the stylistic narration of a story. The mythical characters perfectly relatable and the nav-rasa’s of Bharat Muni are in full bloom, captivating the audience!
The edge Dance seems to have for the viewer is not necessarily out of the Classical value or fundamentals. It is this ‘Visual’ character, the appeal. This view may be my individual inclination, or it may be a result of my long training in the ‘visual’ field of Architecture and Design. For us architects the design vocabulary is a line, a sketch. A pencil is always at hand and it is most customary, natural and beautiful to illustrate spatial thoughts with lines!
When the notes of music meet Space in its three dimensions, I see expression encountering an endless scope for creativity. Music manifesting as a palpable emotion, vividly telling a story through living characters! With the assigned time of the day, the lyrics, the tempo of a raag melody amply mirroring a central emotion, I delicately land on ‘the’ connect, and the rest just follows.
It takes meditative and repeated listens of a melody before music starts becoming alive and starts talking to me. Moods have colors in any visual exercise. We never use black on the walls of a bedroom for instance or use a pale melancholy pastel in a toddler’s play room decor. Likewise, the rasa’s express themselves in a color. It is a matter of taking the hint, then furthering and expanding it in a palette.
In this respect the story of Panorama has become an inspiring, heart-warming experience etched in my artistic past. During the final mixing of the audio tracks, it was a beautiful and absorbing process of taking in the powerful Dolby output over and over again. It was then that I started seeing colors and images with each melody. Starlets shinning in the indigo midnight sky, as the splashes of santoor released the musical energy in raag Handhwani. A pink rose bud fading in eccentrically on the backdrop as the two lovers mirrored their high’s and low’s in an impossible attraction, with the romantic composition in raag Bageshri. The upbeat Malhaar melody – a giveaway Rain dance with happiness and celebration in its center. And the pathos inbuilt in raag Charukeshi inspiring the metaphor of devotees, urging for Lord’s darshan. In the show the dancers portray this by playing two thirsty souls striding through an endless desert in search of oasis, for a life-saving drop of water.
My productions tend to be highly visual in character, banking on color, texture, composition and play of lights. Music is the starting point. Melody is meditation. It gives the path, walking on which becomes pure, extraordinary joy!
Tracing the process of how a thought – the thought that ultimately became your purpose – originated and traveled to its present form becomes a much gratifying endorsement. I have always believed in making Arts an inviting, participative experience through my work. The Visual side of music now blossoms into something the audience relates to, enjoys and cherishes, and I see this happening in a natural evolution. The Visual Vantage! A beautiful gift of architecture.