LDR review in Sakaal Times, Pune

Sakaal Times, Pune

January 13th, 2014

Revanta Sarabhai tells Tania Roy why he chose a universal theme like LDR (long-distance relationship) which can be challenging for couples even in the digital age

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Two youngsters, dressed in casuals, wearing T-shirts and denims and carrying backpacks, enter the auditorium. While schmoozing, they walk past the audience and head for the stage. As you catch a glimpse of them, you recognise one of them — Revanta Sarabhai, who was in Pune on Saturday to stage his show LDR (Long Distance Relationship) as part of the 38th Vikram Sarabhai Inter Art Festival 2013-14.

As Revanta and his co-performer Sarathy Korwar take centrestage, they start planning a theme for their new show. They discuss mythological stories of love and longing such as Kalidasa’s Meghaduta (The Cloud Messenger), Shakuntala and King Dushyant, Radha and Krishna… However, their conversations are interrupted by the beep of the phone.

Revanta excuses himself to take his girlfriend’s call which annoys Sarathy because the constant beep disrupts their work. But the call is important for Revanta because the mobile phone, and the Facebook and Skype are the only means of communication between him and his gf living apart. How else do long-distant lovers communicate?

All this and more forms the premise of the show LDR, which is innovative and has fresh appeal. For the next 1 hour 10 minutes, the audience is treated to fun, laughter, sorrow, joy, anxiety, pain… as Revanta explores the complexities of long-distance relationships.

Besides performing, Revanta has conceptualised, directed and choreographed the show. “I began working on LDR as a dissertation piece when I was pursuing my Masters in Performance and Creative Research in London. The show has gradually evolved. LDR is a universal theme. Both Sarathy and I have had long-distance relationships, and we know it’s challenging. I was in a long-distance relationship for two-and-a-half years, after which it had ended because we had grown apart. My life was in a big mess. Sarathy too overcame similar struggles. But on hindsight, we both learnt from our experiences. We did tide over our problems and even learnt to laugh about it later because we had learnt to embrace mistakes,” explains Revanta candidly.

The duo’s constant improvisations make the show further engaging. Talking about their collaboration, Revanta says that he synced up with Sarathy (his junior in school in Ahmedabad) in London when both were pursuing higher studies. Revanta approached him to compose the music for LDR, however, later, Sarathy became an integral part of the show. The great deal of humour and sensitivity that the duo infuses into the performance is remarkable.

Revanta’s choreography is spellbinding. Using the Bharatnatyam vocabulary, he explores a new concept. “I wouldn’t call it fusion. Rather I would say it is movement, which does not need a label. Taking Bharatnatyam as a dance language I have allowed myself a little freedom to explore different movements,” shares Revanta, who is relocating to India to spend more time here and give something back to society.

Like his mother Mallika Sarabhai, is he too planning to join politics? “No, I don’t think it is the right time for me. I will be focussing on my career,” signs off the talented 29-year-old.

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