BHARATANATYAM is a divine art;one has to have a wealthy heart tobe blessed with it”.
This was a verse from the recent dance drama Sivagamiyin Sabatham (Sivagamiyin’s Vow) that paid tribute to the ancient dance form held at the Istana Budaya recently.
“This is a popular love story written by Kalki, the founder of a Tamil magazine in India a long time ago,” said a member of the audience, Razya Abdul Hameed, 53.
It’s about a prominent dancer, Sivagami who gets separated from her lover, Prince Narasimhavarman, the son of the Kanchi ruler King Mahendravarman due to a war.
The first half of the show featured Kamini Manikam with her polished moves as Sivagami and in the second half her sister Shamini replaced her as Sivagami.
King Pulikesi of Vathapi is a ruthless ruler who whips young girls forcing them to dance for him. His brother, Naganandhi, a Budhhist monk travels freely between both kingdoms as a spy. He strikes a bargain with his brother giving him the assurance that the kingdom of Kanchi will be Pulikesi’s if the monk can keep Sivagami for himself.
Sivagami and her father who is a sculptor trust the monk not knowing his ulterior motives. When Pulikesi seizes Kanchi, he captures all the maidens in the city and also Sivagami’s father Ayanar Chippi.
Naganandhi takes Sivagami back home where the king forces her to dance in his palace. When she refuses he tortures the maidens and makes Sivagami dance on the streets for their freedom. She vows with a vengeance that she will not leave Vathapi until she is rescued by her lover and burns the city down.
Just like any other story, Prince Charming does come to the rescue but now he is married with two children. Heart broken, she dedicates her life to the God of dance, Nadarajah.
“There is a moral to this story,” said Kamini Manikam, 23.
“These days when girls are jilted they opt for suicide, here when she fails she decides to give her life to God,” she added.
With brilliant costumes and beautiful dance numbers composed by ‘Sevisai Sittar’ Re. Shanmugam, the 60 dancers dazzled the audience with each scene.
“All the main characters are teachers in my school and very experienced,” said the producer and artistic director ‘Nattuva Thilagam” Indira Manikam of Tanjai Kamala Indira School.
“We chose this story because it included all the nine Navarasas (expressions).” she added.