NEW DELHI: The genesis of all art forms lie in ‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’, which have now captured the imagination of the current tech-driven generation with mythological characters, according to art exponents.
They said that despite the availability of several sources of entertainment, superheroes like “Chhota Bheem” and “Bal Hanuman” continue to fascinate children.
“No art form or genre is untouched by our epics ‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’. Starting from tribal to folk to contemporary, each of them is based on these epics – be it painting, dance, music or sculpture – all have derived their ideas from them,” Bharatnatyam dancer, Pratibha Prahlad said.
For the danseuse, the two epics are not “myths” but “living history”.
“All of the middle and East Asia is living these histories. Our Gods are so much with us that we cannot be separated from them, we are united with our Gods, and living with them,” she said.
The mythological tomes have been repositories of numerous tales since centuries that have been narrated through generations.
Prahlad, who has directed several plays themed on the two texts, said the stories are open to interpretation and can be presented to the audience in multiple renditions.
“The two epics are full of various stories and we can do so much with them in terms of interpretations and narration.
“The interpretation is open to all – some believe that Ravana is the hero at some places…that it was his desire that made him evil,” she said.
Referring to the animated shows inspired from characters of Bheem, Krishna or Hanuman, Dhrupad exponent Wasifuddin Dagar said, the role of an artist was to breach the gap between the past and future, by presenting historical narratives in a way relevant to the contemporary consumer.
“An artist is not just a ‘Kalakar’ but ‘Kal ka Aakar’ – he is the bridge between the ‘Kal’ both yesterday and tomorrow.
“The present technologies, be it animation or others are also taking these epics to narrate the stories and that is the reason ‘Bal Hanuman’ and ‘Chhota Bheem’ are heroes for present high-tech generation,” he said.
‘Mahabharata’ was a “life-changing” text for eminent art curator Alka Raghuvanshi, who believes that “anything that happens around us is from the epic and if it is not in the epic, it does not exist.”
“All our folk forms have their base or center in either Ramayana or Mahabharata,” she said.
The artistes were speaking at a recently organized panel discussion on “Indian Mythology and Art” at Oxford Book Store here.–PTI