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Iskcon Imphal: Magnum opus in true sense

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Magnum opus in true sense


July 10 2009

The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Northeast | Magnum opus in true sense



The life and times of Rajarshi Bhagyachandra have been staged several times in the past four years with varying results.




While M.C. Arun’s project depicts the king as a skillful diplomat who prudently used culture and religion as tools to achieve his goal, A. Dorendrajit, R.K. Danisana and Aribam Syam Sharma view him as a great innovator of Manipuri Vaisnavism.




But Rajarshi Bhagyachandra, the dance drama directed by N. Tiken and choreographed by W. Lokendrajit, can be called Tiken’s magnum opus because of its opulence and brilliance. It was presented as a press show at Iskcon prasadam hall in Imphal by the Rajarshi Bhagyachandra Research Institute under the aegis of University of Bhagavta Culture. Its project director is late H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami Maharaja.




Bhagyachandra was a famous king of Manipur who reigned in the second half of the 18th century. He was a poet, visionary and good administrator. He established the Manipuri maharas lila.




When Rabindranath Tagore watched a performance of maharas lila once in Silchar, he introduced it as a classical dance form in Santiniketan.




The two-hour performance traces the events from Bhagyachandra’s childhood to his ascension to the throne of Manipur and his installation of the idol of Krishna.




The stagecraft is excellent and so is the use of pre-recorded synthesis of ballads likekhongjom parva, nat sankritana, songs and dialogues. The director uses the costumes, dances and children’s games of the Chothe tribe to portray the harmonious relationship the king had with the hill tribes.




Actor Atombapu Sharma brings out the king’s skill with the sword during the endless war between Manipur and neighbouring Myanmar, then Burma. But Bhagyachandra is defeated and exiled in Assam.




Director Tiken and Iskcon members have fulfilled a dream of Damodara Swami by paying tribute to a great soul.




Designer N. Jilatombi’s props are excellent. Set designer H. Shatananda, costume designer L. Sarat and lighting designer L. Ibochouba have made a commendable contribute in making the dance drama such a huge success. The only drawback was lack of co-ordination among the 90 artistes.



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