Thursday, May 13, 2004

Chitrangoda : The Warrior Princess

On this 25 boishakh, I have enjoyed the "Chitrangoda", a dance-drama written by Rabindranath Tagore, at Osmani Memorial Auditorium, Dhaka.

Act I opened with the Manipuri King and Queen of praying for a son. Instead of son they got a daughter, Chitrangoda. They bring up her as a son.

In Scene II, the princess, now the ruler of her kingdom, is out hunting in the forest with her friends. There she encounters the legendary hero, Orjun (protagonist of the "Moha-bharat" epic). She falls in love. Dressed as a woman, Chitrangoda offers herself to Orjun in marriage. But He refuses her on grounds of vowed chastity. Although Chitrangoda is in tears, the warrior in her is undefeated. She asks Modon, the God of Love, for the weapon she needs, Beauty, for one year.

Act II opens with a transformed Chitrangoda marveling at her beauty, at feelings that she had never had before. Orjun, entranced by her beauty, breaks his vow of celibacy and declares his pride in his manhood. Chitrangoda's rival is now her own body, and she realizes the bitterness of her victory. She also watches her hero belittle himself. In desperation, she goes to Modon who assures her that she needs to play the game a while longer.

Orjun also tires of this love when suddenly he encounters villagers getting ready to fight off predators. He learns from them of the woman who rules Manipur, one who loves like a mother and fights like a tigress, a King. He longs to meet his equal. It is time for Chitrangoda to return her stolen beauty to Madon.

In the last Act, Chitrangoda, the Warrior Princess, enters her own court and demands the right and power to be an equal in prosperity and adversity if Orjun still wants to marry her. Orjun accepts her on her own terms. There is a celebration.

The dance-drama dealt with feminist issues.

Have you seen this drama?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes. I've watched the Chitrangada. That was a retelling of Tagore's breakthrough feminist dance drama.

Seems so classical. I have to watch again for better understanding.

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