When Vatsayana wrote the Kamasutra, condom promos were possibly the last thing
on his mind. But they're most likely the first thing in most of ours when we think
Kamasutra (okay, maybe not the first thing). So when Swathy Somanath decided to
make a dance ballet of the book that altered perception about India everywhere,
there were gasps from contemporary artistes and much tut-tutting from Kuchipudi
puritans. Impurifying our sacred dance form by introducing sex into it? What is
the world coming to?
"If half of them knew the meaning of the Sanskrit verses that you hear during
most dance recitals, they would drop dead from embarassment," says Somanath, "We're
happily unaware of the level of eroticism in our ancient literature." And Somanath
has no intention of encouraging this ignorance.
The Kamasutra, she says, stressed the importance of a good sex life, which, apart
from being fun in itself, also protects the marriage and keeps the partners from
straying. At least that is the theory. Kamasutra doesn't introduce an alien element
into our sacred culture, it only celebrates the sex that was always there.
For all its potential sensationalism, Somanath's ballet conforms to the common
code of discipline and aesthetics as laid down in the natyashastras. The dance
serves to articulate an idea, not titillate the audience.
The last time she performed the Kamasutra, all the publicity material for the
event placed the word 'Kuchipudi' modestly at the bottom of the poster. But after
protests from senior artistes to remove the word altogether from the ads, the
promos now read - Swathy Somanath presents the KUCHIPUDI Dance Ballet 'Kamasutra'.
Be there - you might learn a thing or two.
The ballet is being performed for the cause of the twin cities' street children.
For further details please contact 2700-3890.