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Karna - A Dance Musical - A Review

On September 14th, 2019, Fremont, CA witnessed a spectacular event as the Ohlone Smith Center reached full capacity for both shows of "Karna," a dance musical conceived, created, choreographed, and directed by the talented Ramachandran Muralidaran from Chennai, India. This large-scale, multi-media production took the



audience on an emotional journey, exploring themes of love, greed, lust, anger, grief, and compassion.

In a groundbreaking collaboration, Bharati Tamil Sangam and Yuva Bharati brought together local talents to showcase the captivating story of Karna. Muralidaran's direction seamlessly wove together traditional Bharatanatyam, contemporary and folk dances, and technology-aided production with animated backdrops. The production featured outstanding choreography, impeccable lyrics, and brilliant storylines that intelligently connected each scene, narrating the epic tale of Karna from the Mahabharata.

The production, lasting over two hours, delivered a compelling narrative in the Tamil language with English subtitles. Meticulous planning and execution were evident in the cinematic presentation, combining live actors and dancers. Notable scenes, such as Karna's grand entry and the poignant moment of the abandoned baby Karna flowing in a basket down the river, left a lasting impact. The careful selection of costumes, minimal yet effective props, and videos enhancing the mood of each scene contributed to the overall audio-visual treat.

While all performers showcased remarkable talent, Karna, Arjun, and Duruyodhan stood out with their magnificent expressions and dance moves. The production conveyed a positive message of always doing good deeds, leaving the audience inspired.

This collaborative venture marked the first-time collaboration between Yuva Bharati and Bharati Tamil Sangam, bringing together leading dance companies from The Bay Area. The cast, including Janani Narayanan, Roopa Anand Bindu Pratap Samidha Satyam Shirni Kanth, and Naveen Nathan's theatre crew, contributed to the success of this creative endeavor.

In an interview, Ramachandaran Muralidaran, the creator of the show, shared his perspective on Karna as a character in the Mahabharata. Emphasizing the battle between dharma and adharma, he praised Karna's character for adhering to virtues like kindness, generosity, compassion, and self-respect despite facing an unfortunate fate. Muralidaran drew parallels between Karna and Rama, commending Karna for his loyalty and sacrifice.

Without revealing too much about the production details, we highly recommend this mesmerizing and thought-provoking production. If "Karna" comes to your city, it is undoubtedly a must-watch experience.

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