‘One can be a jack of many and master of one’

Poorna Kulkarni
Sunday, 7 July 2019

Actor, anchor and Bharatanatyam dancer Poorvi Bhave recently released the video of her dance series Antarnaad by Poorvi: the sporadic colors of dance

Poorvi Bhave believes in versatility. She has been continuously exploring her creative side and coming up with unique projects. Recently, the well-known actor, anchor and Bharatanatyam dancer released her first dance video of her dance series Antarnaad by Poorvi: the sporadic colors of dance. She has choreographed and conceptualised the idea for this dance video. 

Here, she tells us more about her recent video and other creative pursuits.  

Tell us about your classical dance journey so far? 
My mother Varsha Bhave is a classical singer and a guru, and my father is a chemical engineer. My entire family is extremely fond of classical music. When my mother asked me as to what I wanted to do, I chose dancing as I was clear that I wanted to be one. So, my mother found an amazing guru — Dr Sandhya Purecha. I have been learning Bharatanatyam from her for over 22 years. My drive comes from my guru who did an extensive research on Sanskrit text and can decodify it on the stage through dance. 

I have received a junior scholarship from Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) and a senior scholarship from Ministry of Culture. I received titles like Singar Mani, Girnar Ratna, Natwar Gopikrishna Award, to name a few. 

What made you start the dance series Antarnaad? 
Antarnaad is a new dance series wherein from content is all new. I have been dancing since a few years and over a period of time, I realised I was performing for the same set of dedicated audiences for the shows. Even if I tried something new or innovative, there were less footfalls from new audience. Irrespective of geographical constraints I wanted to reach out to the varied set of audiences. While looking for a feasible solution, I felt that the YouTube space would be more flexible in terms of reaching out large audiences around the world. I thought I could start with something traditional and experiment in terms of content, which the audience picks up eventually. 

Secondly, I realised that there is a constant need of self expression for an artist, which I was avoiding for a while. So through Antarnaad I wanted to explore various dimensions of dance, music and literature. With this intention Antarnaad was started. The first video of the series, Bhaj Ganpati, is an ode to Lord Ganesh, where music has a North Indian touch and is in Hindi so that everyone can understand. The video is directed by Shelly Sharma and Nazim Khan.

Tell us about the GOT dance cover you came up with this year?
Our dance cover on Game of Thrones (GOT) title song was released on April 14, a day before the premiere of the show. Being a huge fan of the series, whenever I would listen to its title music I would think of creating something contemporary  but with a group in the picture. It was during March, I spontaneously decided to come up with a video on the same lines. With this dance cover, I thought of coming up with many such covers on ghazals and various symphonies. 

A lot of time, dance reality shows showcase the fusion of classical and contemporary dance forms. What are your views as an artist?  
Yes, a lot of people are fusing different dance forms with the traditional ones. It depends on whether one has learnt dance or not. That said, there are a lot of self taught dancers who are equally talented. But an effort towards experimenting may not always lead to actual contemporisation of a dance style. For instance, I learnt Kathak for a couple of years but I cannot go beyond incorporating a few steps in a dance piece. The point here is if one wants to include a classical dance form, one must master it first or know thoroughly and what works best around it. Later, coming up with an integrated product is better than simply clubbing three to four elements for the sake of it. 

To an extent, I might think of it as a form of presentation, making sure the dance is authentic. On the other, I also feel that classical art form is definitely not losing its essence. There are so many good dancers who are sticking to the core and traditional values of Bharatnatyam which is great. My point is one can add contemporary and Western elements that are authentic without disturbing the traditional heritage. 

How has acting and anchoring helped you grow as a dancer? And what is more challenging — acting or dancing?
Acting and anchoring have always helped me to grow as a dancer. Had I just been a dancer I probably would have thought to stick to the traditional form. Theatre and anchoring activities helped me explore different dimensions in dance. Sometimes, as an actor, I used to struggle to get hold of the character, however, my friends from NSD helped me and I learnt a lot. So I was thinking if I should put something pertaining to acting or some poetic episode for my YouTube channel. But I realised that I get great creative satisfaction from dance and have complete control over it. 

Both have their own set of challenges. When it comes to dance I know what and how I want it to be done, where I need polishing and improvements. The physical effort that needs to be put can be challenging internally, but externally, the art is getting a platform which is positive. 

In terms of acting, getting a good opportunity with a good content is a challenge. There is a need for more qualitative content. I also feel that the online platform should be explored more as it has a wider reach and there is a high degree of experimentation. So, I personally feel that creating a niche and your own content is the best way out. 

Apart from these, would you switch to direction? 
Definitely yes! I would love to explore that area although I have no experience in it. There goes a lot of learning to understand the process of direction. I personally feel, in today’s time, one can be a jack of many and master of one. I will continue doing what I am doing but dance will be my long term goal.

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