‘MEERA,’ in a laconic expression is ‘An outstanding Spectacle.’
The Dance Drama that narrates the loves and times of a 16th Century Indian Princess opens tonight at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland. If not, please visit that website again and book for a show that is [upcoming near you]. I would suggest you see the first show, because, you may want to see it again. ‘Meera’ is one of those productions that leaves you in a state of emotion and wanting more and more. It is not a show, but an event with spectacular settings and special effects.
Peace and Contentment as MEERA joins her Master in the Heaven with Angels around the Princess who wouldn’t be
Aarti Bajaj, who does the title role of ‘Meera’ is a volcano of talent. She is at once a joyous Princess, enjoying the comforts of life but even as a child, envisions Krishna (yes, the Lord, an Avatar of Vishnu, a prankster and the God that delivered the Bhagavad Geeta to the world) as her true lover, her master and her husband.
Compelled to marry Bhojraj, another member of a Royal Clan, she desists from his touch and advances, although entirely moral and legal. She pleads with him to understand her- “Krishna is my true love. How can I be your wife, when I am already His?”
You may find the logic strange but if you were to read history from East and West, you would reckon what love does to people. And that Divine Love is even stranger than fiction. Love should be overt.
Dancers and Narrators are a magnificent part of MEERA
The life of Meera, you would say, was one of unwanted misery; she could have loved Krishna in secrecy, after all, He cannot be seen in the human form; and she could have led a stately life with all the regency and luxury attached to it.
But honesty to self and to everyone else is the wont of Meera. The end is something that will touch your heart.
If Aarti has excelled herself as the lead character, choreographer, director and producer of this mammoth drama, the pool of actors and the professionally motived crew (totalling more than 200 people, including children) are a great complement, that lift the show even higher. It is to her credit for having brought together talent from Australia and New Zealand.
Uda Bhai (Marianne Infante)- Performance extraordinaire
Paul Menezes as ‘Adult’ Krishna brings stature to the role even as sits like a statue in much of the play; he at once wins your attention with his untold words of ‘Meera, I am always here, why worry?’ He in fact, saves Meera from the poisonous designs of sister-in-law Uda Bhai (superbly played by Marianne Infante) and brother-in-law Vikram Singh (somewhat convincing portrayal by Rishabh Kapoor).
Superb actors and dancers
Barbara Prestia and Rajesh Ranjith as the Narrators, are the connecting links between the past and the present- of little and adult Meera. Zara Leinster as Teenage Meera is a delight to behold and so are Dylan Thuraisingham (Prince Bhojraj), Joseph Tarei (King Rao Duda, Meera’s Grandfather) and many others.
Aarti has put together dancers adept in Bharata Natyam, Kathak, Ballet, Indian Folk, Jazz, Wild Percussion and Contemporary formats of dances and Pole and Belly Dancers who blend well with the theme of Meera.
The performance of the Maori troupe at the end is a crown in the jewel.
As Aarti mentioned to us (reproduced in the Brochure given out at the event), “Meera is a bold love story from 16th century India, following the life of a young Princess on her endless, beautiful journey of love with the Hindu God, Krishna. A story told through mesmerising dance and confluence of numerous other artistic forms of expression, Meera is a love story like none-other…a show you’ll never forget!”
Wild Dreamer Productions, which has brought Meera, has defied the impossible: connecting passionate individuals around the world and bringing their skills together into one performance…well sooner than anybody thought.
General Shagun Choudary
This Review will not be complete without an honourable mention of Shagun Choudhary, who, as the New Zealand Producer, is the Achiever of what would have been Mission Impossible. A tireless worker who took every chagrin and moment of frustration and challenge with fortitude and a smile, she deserves credit for the success of this great event. She is the General who has led from the front, an army of men and women who have given their time, effort and talent that are not easy to find.