Hema Malini to perform a dance ballet in Varanasi, PM Narendra Modi and others to attend

Mumbai, January 19, (Online): Hema Malini is 70, but she still takes our breath away, thanks to her peaches-and-cream complexion and candid demeanour. Age clearly hasn’t slowed down the ‘Dream Girl’, as she is popularly known, who has been entertaining and enthralling the audiences with her classical dance recitals. The Bollywood icon, who is proficient in Bharatnatyam, Kathak and Kuchipudi, is scheduled to perform on January 22 on the banks of the Ganges as part of the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas celebrations in Varanasi. Apart from many political, industrial and other biggies from various walks of life, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, will be a part of the mega even.
As she speaks to us about her ballet Ganga, which is based on the theme of the holy river by the same name, Hema’s eyes light up. She says, “The concept had been with me for a long time. I wanted to make it four-five years ago, but it’s finally happening now. It was Union Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swarajji who told me, ‘Aap Ganga pe ek dance ballet karo.’ This was six-seven months ago. So, I thought, I better do it.”
The septuagenarian ensured that she roped in the best of talents to collaborate for her recital. She elaborates, “I got Ashit Desai and Alap Desai to compose the music. The compositions are Indian music with fusion. The choreography is by Bhushan Lakandri, who has done all my ballets. He is excellent and has worked extremely hard on this one, too. Shekhar Astitwa, who is the late music composer and lyricist Ravindra Jain’s special man, has penned the lyrics. Writing mein sab ne help ki. Ram Govind has done the research while Devdutt Pattanaik is the consultant. Whatever I do, I will ask him, so no one criticises me tomorrow.
The concept and story are mine. I scripted it after speaking to sadhus and sanyasis, especially Swami Avdheshanand Giriji Maharaj, who lives in Haridwar.”
The actress is involved in every aspect of her performance. When we meet her, she is supervising the costumes to be worn by the dance troupe and offers suggestions to the designer on how to make each girl stand out.
Simultaneously, she admits that she has been able to maintain herself because her passion for dance continues unabated.
Ganga promises to be a visual extravaganza, replete with well-choreographed sequences and special effects. Hema informs us, “The ballet will have a combination of many Indian dance forms. Of course, there’s a beautiful Kathak number performed by the troupe. It’s a lovely concept. I was so obsessed with this ballet that I kept thinking of it continuously and the idea struck me when I was falling asleep. To me it felt that when Ganga is being brought down to Earth, she’ll flow with full force. Of course Brahma says, ‘Let her come, I will catch her in my kamandal (water vessel).’ Vishnu tells him, ‘She is approaching with great speed. You won’t be able to control her.’
Brahma says, ‘Don’t worry, I will catch her.’ The lyrics are such that the track conveys it so aptly and amazingly. Shankar Mahadevan has sung it soulfully and wonderfully.”
Her passion for her dream project is evident when she explains to us in great detail about the effort that has gone into it. She elaborates, “It’s quite a challenge to project Ganga’s entry on Earth. Vibhore Khandelwal, who has worked on the Kingdom Of Dreams among several other shows, has done the VFX of this 90-minute ballet. His work is of high technical quality. The special effects are beautiful, the whole stage is filled with girls, performing Kathak. And they are dressed in such a way that it looks like a whole lot of water is splashing on stage. Of course,
Brahma can’t catch Ganga in his kamandal, he just stands there looking because of the force. Then Shivji catches her in his tresses.” The multi-talented personality, who’s also an MP from Mathura, admits that performing this recital while the Kumbh Mela is happening is a huge honour. She states, “So many millions of sadhus have come from all over. They will feel happy seeing the show. That’s why we are also presenting it in such a way that there’s nothing wrong with it right from costumes to everything else.”
It’s evident that Hema has dedicated a lot of time to the performance when she mentions, “We have been working on the compositions for three months and kept on making several alterations. Just two days ago, we finalised the music. Now, there will be no more changes.”
ENDS/ONLINE/SN/SM

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