The stage is set for one of the most large-scale Bollywood musicals ever produced in Sydney. More than 90 actors and dancers will transform the Riverside Theatre into an ethereal landscape as the Bollywood-inspired show, A Magical Journey With Krishna, is staged at the famous Parramatta performance venue for only one night on Saturday 27th August. To book your tickets, visit magicaljourneywithkrishna.com.
“The most unique thing about the show is that it is entirely created in Sydney,” says Sumati Lekhi – the artistic director of the play. “We have written the script in Sydney, we have choreographed all dances and rehearsed all scenes and Sydney, and we have sourced each and every cast and crew member of the play in Sydney. Most of them are students of Swastik. So we’re talking a lot of local talent.”
The play – as the name suggests – is based on the life and times of Lord Krishna and will be performed in late August in Sydney to coincide with Janmashtami. The Hindu festival celebrates the first earthly appearance of Lord Krishna and, this year, falls on 25 August. “We have been working for almost a year on this stage show, because we wanted to time it perfectly with the festival of Janmashtami,” says Lekhi.
While the show is based on the timeless tales of Lord Krishna – all of them part of the great Hindu mythological epic, Mahabharata – it also has a very strong contemporary subplot.
“We wanted to make it relevant for Sydneysiders, particularly for the younger generation. One of the things Swastik takes very seriously is Indian traditions and culture. We wanted to create a traditional show, which helps acquaint young people with the beautiful and traditional folklores of Indian mythology. But we also wanted to package it in a way so it’s easy for everyone to absorb, understand and enjoy – even for those people who’re not familiar with the tales of Lord Krishna,” says Lekhi.
The story of the play revolves around a young girl called Sunaina, who’s just moved from India to Sydney. While her family is quite happy about the move, Sunaina is not sure about it. She is, in fact, a little distraught as she’s had to leave all of her friends behind. She’s, however, a devout bhakt (devotee) of Lord Krishna. So, one day, when she complains vociferously, Krishna appears in front of her and takes her on a journey… to the time when he himself was a young boy. Using anecdotes from his own life, Krishna guides Sunaina through the most challenging phase of her life.
“It is a really beautiful concept. A new family in Sydney, excited parents, but a very upset daughter. But then comes Krishna. And so begins a beautiful play with time travel,” informs Lekhi.
The scenes move effortlessly between the modern era set in present-day Sydney and the mythological era, set in the towns of Gokul, Vrindavan and Mathura in the times of Krishna. “We have used some fantastic theatrical techniques to create this wide-spanning story on stage and we’re quite excited to show it off,” says Lekhi.
The most breathtaking thing about the show, however, has to be the dances. Swastik Institute of Dance specialises in Kathak and Bollywood, and boasts of having more than 200 students. And this show – with as many as 10 sweeping dance performances – is going to be one of the best ways to witness the spectacle of Swastik.
Tickets start at $35. For more information and to buy tickets, visit magicaljourneywithkrishna.com