I've read the comments of many people, and realised that many people couldn't understand Sushant's performance, maybe cos they weren't very familiar with Mahabharata or the character Karna- often referred as 'Angaraj Karna' (King of Anga), Soot-putra KArna (son of charioteer) or Daanveer Karna (Kind and one who gives without expectations in return)- or cos of any other reason.. Till one does not understand it, it is difficult to completely appreciate a performance. So here's a short interpretation for those who didn't understand it. Anyways, Mahabharata being an interesting story, I think you would like to read it.Background:
Mahabharata is a story of good and evil revolving around the struggle for the throne of Hastinapur.
Good- Pandava princes -5 in no. - their father died when they were little and his blind brother was running the kingdom in his place.
Kaurava Princes -100 in no. + 1 sister- children of that blind ruler- (Dhritarashtra) and cousins of
Pandavas. They knew the Pandavas were the rightful heirs to the throne,
and hence 99 of them wanted to get rid of Pandavas by hook or crook. They used to conspire against them all the time.
They were headed by Duryodhana.
is the story of this good vs evil, and about various characters who
fight and support the two groups for reasons of their own. Amongst them
Karna was technically Pandavas brother. Their mother
Kunti had been given a special mantra as a boon- whenever she remembered any form of God and prayed to him with that mantra, then that form would come and give her a son. When she got the mantra cum boon, she was very eager to try it and see whether it worked, and prayed to Sun God, who came and
gave her a son, who was majestic just like him and had a kavach
(protecting coat) and kundal (ear-rings) made of gold. Naturally Kunti
was shocked, cos she wasn't married at that time. She got very scared
about how to explain to society and so she put her little one in a basket and set him in a river. A poor
charioteer found him, he was childless and so was very glad to get a
baby. Karna grew up with him and his wife. He trained under Guru Parshuram, by lying
to him that he was a Brahmin. The Guru however caught his lie, and
cursed that at the moment you need my knowledge most, you shall forget
all of it. It turned out to be true in the battle of Kurukshetra- which
was the climax of the Mahabharata, fought between Kauravas and Pandavas.
Later when Karna grew up, he went to a sort of competition where everyone
was saying that Pandava Prince Arjun is the best warrior, KArna wanted to compete
and prove him wrong, but was rejected since he was not a Kshatriya prince.
Duryodhana- the evil eldest Kaurava prince- figured
out that poor Karna was brave and could be useful to him in defeating the PAndavas, and so made him king
of Anga and befriended him. So thanks to Duryodhana, Karna could display his skills that day
in front of everyone and gave a tough competition to Arjuna. And thus Karna, who was essentially a very good person,
joined the wrong people cos he felt grateful to Duryodhana. He had rivalry
with Arjuna, one of the Pandavas, since everyone always called him 'the
best warrior' and never gave Karna the consideration just because he was
son of a charioteer.
Before the battle of Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna tried to unite him his brothers, but Karna could not betray his friend.
Kunti, (who had identified him by the Kavach and Kundal) asked Daanveer Karna, for charity, saying she wanted all her 5 sons alive- she didn't want bloodshed between brothers. So Karna said, okay, you'll get 5 sons, but not 6
- I'll not kill any of your sons except Arjuna- if Arjuna kills me, you'll have 5 sons, if I kill Arjuna, then also you'll have 5 sons.
Thus Karna didn't let even his Mom go empty handed.Coming to Sushant's performance:
All aspects of KArna's
character and his role in Mahabharata were brought out- in 2 and a half minutes. Sushant was KArna, and Shampa got into various roles- Remo was wrong
- according to what I understood, Shampa performed 4 roles, not 3 (Edited later: Okay, after more discussions, we have come to the conclusion that it was 5, not 4 or 3)
- in the beginning she was Arjuna
, with whom Karna wanted to compete but was refused cos he was the son of a charioteer. Then she was Lord Krishna
scarf- Lord Krishna - Pitambar- someone who wears yellow) who even went to the extent of offering
Karna a big kingdom if he left Duryodhan- the evil, and
joined his blood brothers the Pandavas (the action where she cradled her
hands and asked him to come along signified it) and KArna refused saying I cannot leave
someone who always supported me, I must be loyal to him even if he is
bad. Then she was Lord Indra
(pink scarf) who cleverly asked Karna for his Kawach-Kundal in charity (to reduce his strength) and the 'daanveer' that he was, he gave it at once.
then of course, the battlefield of Kurukshetra, where she was Yudhishthira or Nakul/Sahdeva
(one of them, I forgot with whom Karna had fought with swords and
almost defeated- here sushant fought with Shampa and threw away her sword, and wanted to kill, but stopped). Karna could have killed him, but he did not, cos he
had promised his Mom Kunti that he would not kill any of her sons (and
his blood brothers) except Arjuna, so that she could always have 5 sons,
(as she wanted)Edit Add:
Now it has been confirmed that it was Nakul/Sehdeva during the sword fight- since Nakul/Sehdeva's weapon of choice was sword- they used to fight with Swords. Also, if you notice, when Sushant throws away shampa's sword- he looks back to the Pandavas side for a minute (supposedly depicting Karna remembering his promise to Kunti) and lets Nakul/Sehdeva return alive.
Also, as Lathika pointed out further in this thread, Shampa also essayed Bhima's role- this was the 5th role- it took place after the sound of the conch, signifying beginning of the battle, when sushant- shampa fought without any weapon, just before they started fighting with swords. It was because of the way the fight was shown- by throwing Shampa around and holding her thighs.
Then his death- he got down to set the wheel of
his chariot right which had got stuck in the mud, and Lord Krishna instigated Arjuna to kill him,
though it was cheating, by reminding that Karna and others on the Kauravas side had killed
Arjuna's son by cheating too. Evil had to be defeated by evil- and cheating by cheating- tit for tat
. And so, the brave Karna died for supporting the side of evil..
The end was the best of the whole sequence- Shampa turned into Lord Krishna
again (yellow scarf with chakra in hand)- and paid respect to the brave Karna, who had been
loyal till the end, had been kind till the end, and had not broken his
promise to his mother till the end, and instead died in the battlefield fighting-
the lyrics here were beautiful- we respect Karna- the brave, kind
warrior, even though he was on the side of evil.
The symbolism and actions plus dance
drama was according to the story. All the roles of Shampa were easy to follow- Lord
Krishna came in yellow, he had the Sudarshana chakra in his hand (Shampa was moving one hand round and round), and everything
else. Even Arjuna was dressed in silver (any one who has seen BR
Chopra's Mahabharata, which was THE Mahabharata for most youngsters,
will remember that Karna was always dressed in gold there and Arjuna was
dressed in silver in that serial.
Hope this helps those who couldn't understand the performance. Now go see the dance again- this time you'll understand it.
Edited by nikitagmc - 30 December 2010 at 2:41am