Blood and Beauty: Artistic presentation of Kunju-Chanchlo Saga

Lalit Gupta

A scene from play ‘Blood and Beauty’. -Excelsior/Rakesh
A scene from play ‘Blood and Beauty’.

JAMMU, Feb 3: Natraj Natya Kunj has certainly set up a healthy precedent by providing an opportunity to theatre aficionados of winter capital to witness its play ‘Blood and Beauty’, which has been invited to be staged in the forthcoming international festival.
Staged at the Abhinav Theatre, here today, under title ‘Blood and Beauty’, the Dogri adaptation of Duggar’s folk love story Kunju-Chanchalo by Kumar A. Bharti, today’s play was noticeable on two accounts: First the play script takes liberty in recreating the socio-cultural contexts of the love story that is gleaned from a folk song only, and second the high artistic and aesthetic value that marked its overall production design.
Directed Abhishek Bharti, today’s play, presented a well-orchestrated artistic spectacle conceived in the form of a folk ballad. The plot revolves around Kunju, a brave solider in love with Chanchalo, a dancer. The resentful Wazir spurned by Chanchalo, succeeds in separating the lovers by inciting the issueless Raja to take Chanchalo as his Rani and send Kunju to a battle, where the scheming Wazir gets him killed. Heartbroken, Chanchalo, curses the royal couple and kills herself. The remorseful Raja also ends his life, while the cunning Wazir is put to death by Chanchalo’s Eunuch Guru. The Rani is left behind all alone.
Today’s play in verse, was a kind of collage in which dramatic action narrated through theatrical elements drawn from Duggar folk forms like Haran, Bhaakh, was interspersed with well choreographed compositions in modern idiom. The other strong points of the presentation style of young and talented Abhishek Bharti, were well thought use of spot lights, background songs and music which greatly enhanced emotive import of scenes conceived to bring best out of the actors.
All actors gave good performances. The cast included Aman Sharma, Mukesh Bakshi, Niharika, Sakshi, Rakesh Dogra, Subhangi Dhamir, Kanav Sharma, Karan Mehra, Manik Sharma, Vishal Pandit, Lalit Sharma, Saras Bharti, Abhishek Sharma, Surbhi Balgotra, Hema Shivgotra and Akshay Razdan.Music was designed by Surinder Singh Manhas, make-up by Shammi Dhamir, choreography by Romit Sawhney/light by Pawan Bhardwaj and costumes by Kamal Mohni.
Today’s function started with release of Kumar A. Bharti’s book of the play script of Kunju Chanchalo. Those present on the occasion included the chief guest Padmashri Balwant Thakur and special guests Arvinder Aman, and N. D. Jamwal.