Destiny - does it control our fate or do we have full sway over it?
Many of us have roles to play and rules to obey. For some, destiny is too strong a force to fight.
We may - like Princess Vaidehi from Sand, a local musical by the Indigo Soul Project (ISP) - venture into the unknown and bend the rules, but as the princess would later discover, the different paths eventually lead back to an appointed end. Once again, roles and rules.
“Sand is synonymous with something that cannot be changed or goes with the control of a higher power. Destiny is the higher power here and all the characters have no sway over it,” says 24-year-old Swathi Sivadas, the actress who plays the princess in Sand.
The other actors in the two-and-a-half-hour musical are Abimanyu Misilamani, Afham Zainal Abidin, Lenny Wan, Priyangka Satsitananda, Sudhan Nair and Vix Chandra. The musical is playing now at Theatre KuAsh, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. It will run till Aug 23.
Sand boasts 19 original songs written by Santosh Logandran. The fusion-based tunes will mix various genres such as hip-hop, blues, jazz, Broadway and even rock.
Set in 16th-century Rajasthan, India, Sand follows the lives of Princess Vaidehi and Ram (Abimanyu), a free-spirited musician. Vaidehi pines for a life away from the royal court.
All that changes when she meets Ram. Together with Ram and his best friend Mottu (Sudhan), Vaidehi gets to see the outside world and experience life as a commoner.
However, destiny takes its course. Reality comes knocking and the princess returns to the palace to fulfil her duties, leaving her new-found lover feeling empty and distraught.
“One of the things that’s highlighted in this play is how there are rules, and as a society, we have to live by it. Vaidehi is a princess and she has rules to live by. The peasants have rules, too,” says Sudhan, who plays the character Mottu.
Selva Kumar, Sand’s director and ISP’s founder, reckons that destiny is like a set location. “How time ruthlessly marches towards that point ... we may have an influence over our immediate surroundings but in the end, the path will bring you to that point,” he says.
Picking up on this, Vix, who plays the antagonist Veer, says what’s important to note is that “every character has a different acceptance of their destiny.”
“You have a simpleton who doesn’t like it but accepts it anyway. You have a royal who accepts her destiny at first but realises she actually doesn’t like it,” he says.
The rapper-songwriter who wrote the lyrics for Sand, believes this to be a ruthless path. “It’s set for you anyway. You can try your hardest to change it. In the story, within 10 years, things change but the characters are still bound by destiny. That’s what we are trying to convey,” says the 32-year-old.
In the end, despite their circumstances, Selva says that’s an escape hatch for the characters and the audience. “No matter how your life is, there is that music, music you can connect to and take with you,” he says.
Catch Sand at Theatre KuAsh, 48, Jalan Tun Muhd Fuad, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur from Aug 14-16 and Aug 20-23. Time: 8.30pm. Ticket: RM65. Visit www.ticketpro.com.my or call 03 7880 7999 to purchase tickets.