Adam and Ever Revisited
By Amit Sharma
Kameshwari and epic of Kama a poetic play based on a long poem written by Swarnjit Savi was staged at the auditorium of Punjab University extension Library on June 14, 1998. Directed by Narinder Sanghi, this hour-long play depicted the story of coming of life, as we see it, into being. It was the raw beauty of woman that sparked off the feeling of a sensual desire in a man. And when the two came together, happened the "creation" of this universe. And thus came life into existence followed by language, varied media of communication and finally the civilisation that is ours today.The play, which was presented very aesthetically, received a major applause from the citys theatre enthusiasts who watched it in pin drop silence.The way the play was received by the audience came as a major reassurance that there still were some people in this industrial town of Ludhiana who had time for such thought-provoking and aesthetic encounters.
The play could boast of all the ingredients of good theatre colourful costumes an impressive use of the tabla thaaps and above all, a tight script written by Anita Devgan. Not to miss the convincing performances by the artists, especially that of Hardip Gill who was also the art director of the play and played the lead role of the "Kamdeva". A major part of the play was presented in the form of poetry that was recited backstage. Except a few patches of dialogues spoken on the stage, it was the facial expressions of Hardip (Kamdeva) and Gurinder Makhna, which said more that dialogues could ever say.
Pinkish, who has done Masters in Theatre from PU, Chandigarh, played the lead role of "Kameshwari". She, however, failed to come up to the expectations of the audience. But, on the whole, it was a very fulfilling experience.
Back to a new Eden
By S. P. Arora
Main tere kol aunda haan
jisam da rom rom
pabban bhar ho takhda hai
jis tarah chumbajk nu
Utawale ho milde nei loh kan
Tu ban jandi hain
-from Swaranjit Savis "Dehi Naad"
(As I move near you, every pore of my body gets charged to merge with you just as the iron filings eagerly cling to the magnet and you turn into a being whose musical body participates in a cosmic orchestra.)A close reading of Savis poetry is helpful in understanding the polemics of man-woman relationships, which dominate his paintings as well. Rightly named Desire, his latest series of 25 oil paintings on larger than life size canvases has disturbed many higher-than-thou arbiters of public morality who shout that exposing bodies in a "clothed" culture is a grave provocation. Savi confides: "There is a subterranean kinship between my book "Dehi Naad" and the "Desire" oil frames. Instead of fantasising about the man-woman relationship, I poetise and visualise it alternately on paper and canvas".
On the face of it, Savis frames unfold a panorama of undulating bodies melting and waxing into frenzied rituals against symbolic backdrops. They seem to cross the Lakshman-rekho of decency by showing the body in tooth and claws. But there is more to it than what meets the eyes. There is nothing obscene in them unless we choose to be Peeping Toms.Not that we Indians are new to these erotic stereotypes and their later transfigurations. We have almost surfeited ourselves with such images in orgiastic primitive rituals, on temple walls, Harrapan terracottas, on the screen, the stage, the ramp and the canvas. Going by these models that the dressed-up models waltzing and gyrating on the catwalks of our heavily concealed society.
While making an attempt to create a holistic art form through his
paintings, Savi stresses that the modern civilised man will have to regain the vitality of
the Eden experience if he environments the nature of human sexuality is the locus of
control around which our cultures and sub-cultures get built up. The reality of the flesh
cannot, and should not, be negated. He links sex with a kind of inverted mystical
experience whereby the body gets rid of its mundane shackles, and attain a kind of
nirvanic state. Thus, a body in Savis works becomes take-off point and arouse to
attain higher levels of consciousness. While the senses stand purified, the body
transcends space and time.
The desire series is programmed to present the odyssey of the soul flying on the wings of the body. He lays before us a wonderland of colours, forms and designed to transport his sexual pilgrims on a spiritual safari. These pilgrims are physically headless, and assure thus mentally egoless. Their facelessness gives them anonymity, hence, a kind of universality. Their ample and prosperous bodies show no struggle, no motion, no commotion. They are in a kind of frozen static, and assume the attitude of what the art connoisseurs call "poses plastique".
With not even a fig leaf between them, they are in no sense naked as a very deft sylisation and idealisation is at work. Their dermal contact with archetypal elements like fire, water and wind initiates a dialogue that in turn generates and quickens mystical emanations on an ethereal and cosmic scale. As he does not attach any classificatory tags, the figures attain a kind of transcendental homelessness.Certain floral motifs and symbols from nature envelop the figures with a kind of mystical aura. There is nothing exhibitionistic in them unless one decides to look at them with the eyes of a voyeur. Technically speaking, a series is supposed to show a linear and progressive movement but what we have here is a cyclic recurrence.Savis major attempt in this series has been to suggest that there is a need to peel off the overlay of posed morality, which is distancing us from our body. There is no fun tying white bandages on wounds, which only continue to fester underneath.
Well-Knit play on Cosmic Desire
Sonoo Singh, Theatre Critic
"Kameshwari", a poetic play in Punjabi based on a long poem by Swarnjit Savi inspired by the abstractions of Kama (love) and its consummation was presented at Tagore Theatre on Sunday evening."Kameshwari", presented by the Theatre Persons Group, Patiala, was interestingly woven around the theme of cosmic desire, and the creative impulse to seek sensual pleasure through a dance drama. Directed by Narinder Singh and co-directed by Hardip Gill, it lusciously heightened the concept of love and desire through engaging play of light and colour on stage.
In Indian mythology, the God of love is Kama, who is the first born of the primeval chaos that makes all later creation possible. But the play "Kameshwari" with its bold and contemporary script written by Anita Devgan brought the woman to be the center of universe, who is personified as the creator of the cosmos.The play presented the entire erotic experience of love, starting from the budding of affection and adoration to its ultimate aftermath, without coming anywhere near obscenity through its remarkably powerful script. But the passion as intensity sometimes seemed to be missing in the acrobatically amorous postures that the actors adopted. In fact at various places the gauche movements of the male dancers seemed quite incongruous to the concept of a fiery desire of love done.
Interestingly, the audience without raising any prudish eyebrows to the tale of grandiose craving for love applauded enormously. The scene in which the intentions seems of reach the orgasmic heights torches in the hands of the actors shrouded by a large white sheet, was well appreciated. The supple and the pliant physiques of "Kameshwari", with its bold and contemporary script written by Anita Sanghi, brought the woman to be the center of universe, who is personified as the creator of the cosmos.The play presented the entire erotic experience of love, starting from the budding of affection and adoration to its ultimate aftermath, without coming anywhere near obscenity through its remarkably powerful script. But the passion as intensity sometimes seemed to be missing in the acrobatically amorous postures that the actors adopted. In fact at various places the gauche movements of the male dancers seemed quite incongruous to the concept of a fiery desire of love done
Interestingly, the audience without raising any prudish eyebrows to the tale of grandiose craving for love applauded enormously. The scene in which the intentions seems of reach the orgasmic heights torches in the hands of the actors shrouded by a large white sheet, was well appreciated. The supple and the pliant physiques of "Kameshwari" focussed on the woman as the epitome of love, by equating her body with the Mother Nature, who has not only granted both hunger and thirst to man, but has also all the resources to satisfy the same.
The play expressed the urge for attainment of salvation for every man who comes to him only on becoming one with a woman, who is also the mans saviour from the worldly mirage and fantasies.And this script of play eclipsed its visual impact throughout.