As the Cannes Film Festival celebrates 100 years of Bollywood, one of India’s most iconic dancers, choreographers and musicians, Raghunath Manet, presented his first film.
Manet has, in the past, worked with a host of international stars such as jazz musician Archie Shepp and American choreographer Carolyn Carlson.
Manet is a master of classical dancing from South India called Bharatanatyam and has also trained a whole new generation who now work in Bollywood.
“Dance of Shiva” is a collaboration between Manet and French director Didier Bellocq. The film explores the cosmic dance of Hindu god Shiva. Shiva is also known as “Nataraja – the Lord/King of the Dance”. Worship of Shiva is one of the three most influential denominations of Hinduism.
“For me it was important to bring out the message, who is Shiva?” Manet told euronews.
“Why is he dancing? And what is his philosophy? Because, very often, the Indian gods are confusing for Western people. For us, Shiva is the one who created the world and destroyed the world, and he recreates. So Shiva is a beautiful philosophy, it’s not a religion. I thought through dancing and music I could give the message of the philosophy of Shiva and that’s why I made this documentary on Shiva,” explained Manet.
This cosmic dance is all about meaningful gestures, according to Manet.
“Shiva is represented with his Damaru (tambour). The rhythm of the small drum which he beats – the Om. As soon as he beats the Om, the world takes its own creation. Shiva is wearing in his hair the Ganga (Ganges), the sacred river of India. Shiva said, ‘I’ll protect you, don’t be scared.’ Shiva said ‘I embraced the whole world’, he said ‘Don’t be ignorant’ and he lifted his leg and said ‘I am here’,” said Manet, demonstrating the moves.
Manet is also a master of the vina, the traditional Indian lute.
“Dance of Shiva” will be released in French cinemas later this year.