Mrinalini (featuring Ritviz)
2020Music composed & produced by Ritviz
Lyrics: Sanjay Sinha
Cinematography & editing: Sambhav Raj
Curatorial Statement: “The Ashthanayika lexicon: the various moods of the heroine in love; is an important aesthetic trope which is explored significantly in Indian classical arts like music, dance and painting. Mrinalini’s explorations of the classical romantic awakenings of the naayika strike a chord with us today, as we are forced to reflect upon these various circumstances of romantic relationships through the lens of contemporary social distancing and the many colours and hues of the contemporary pandemic induced viyog (separation) and sanyog (union).”
Artist’s Statement: “Barso is the narrative of a naayika awaiting the monsoon, the story of the dark clouds floating far above this muse, and the interplay of these two stories that comes to life with the raindrops touching the parched earth.
It is not merely the tale of two separated lovers waiting to be united. It is a visual discourse where one sees that while the naayika is a spinning form of colour on land symbolic of prayers for the monsoon to come in, she is in fact the monsoon herself. Her emotions take the form of the shape changing clouds above. Just as the Chaumasa announces its arrival in distinct stages of colour and emotion over time, the naayika simmers in a pot of rasa – adorning one after another like the pieces of her shringaar.
Vasaksajja by choice, she is first the one dressing up for the union with her lover. She is the reflection of the distant blue cloud that slowly changes colour in abhushan. Her eyes fill with hope just as the cloud starts to gather its wisps together. She steps into Abhisarika, the one who is emboldened with passion, just as the clouds gather momentum over land driven by the rising hot air from beneath. She steps out, ready to unite with the falling drops, arms stretched in longing – unaware of everything but her own desire. As the moments of separation continue to grow longer, there is lightning in the skies and anger in the eyes of the naayika. She is now Khandita : enraged; as the gathering storm continues to stoke her passion. But the lightning fades out slowly, the skies are now darker but quiet. The cloud has changed colour yet again, now adorning a different shade of blue. It is heavy with grief and rain, much like the naayika whose eyes now have longing more than anticipation. In grief she is Virahotkanthita – the long hours of viraha (separation) seem to stretch into days. Was she deceived? Is she the Vipralabdha? She shudders at the thought as the rumbling between her feet grows louder. She could have sworn she had felt the incoming monsoon. Where did it disappear?
Pained by her thoughts, she feels a single drop of rain fall through the crevice between her bangles. As it touches her skin she is filled with hope again. The surface beneath her feet emanates with the musk of wet earth. Anticipation sets in again, the pot of rasa continues to simmer.
Though the narrative ends before the rain drops fall on the parched earth, one witnesses the naayika stepping into ecstasy again. Whether the Chaumasa continues to tug at her heartstrings longer or not – one cannot say. But the mere act of her own emotions taking on the colour of the cloud bove validates that she is the monsoon herself.
Set and performed in classical Kathak, the music adds a stark contrast to draw attention to two forms of art that may seem poles apart. But they are intrinsically one another by their mere coexistence in their monsoon prayer. Just as the naayika and the cloud are one.