Virtual Film Division
“Naiharwa” is a reflection of my constant struggle of balance between medicine and dance. As a physician, I faced some of the toughest challenges of patient care, especially during the pandemic. The grueling hours, the waves of grief that we faced when we lost patients, the inexplainable mental and physical exhaustion, the helplessness, the unpreparedness, the unpredictable future- it consumed me. It tore me away from dance. The film shows my deep struggle, as I put my most vulnerable self forward. Maybe that is why we say we practice medicine, and we practice dance. They both are an art, and they both cannot be compartmentalized, for me. It shows my deep struggle, as I put my most vulnerable self forward. Maybe that is why we say we practice medicine, and we practice dance. They both are an art, and they both cannot be compartmentalized. This film is about that.
“Shri Rama Chandra” is an extremely beautiful 16thcentury composition of Goswami Tulasidas that states: Oh mind! Revere the benign Sri Rama, who removes worldly sorrow and pain, fear and poverty (of the mind). It is in the Kuchipudi style.
The Sanchari depicts the liberation of Ahalya, who was turned into a stone by a curse, for being accused of infidelity. She was hidden away from the world like the sun obscured by dark clouds, or the light of a full moon hidden by mist. Rama, who considered Ahalya as pure and unblemished, liberates her from this curse by the mere touch of His foot, purifies her, and restores her into a beautiful lady. Ahalya was forgotten, endured years of hardship, humiliation. Finally, with Rama’s help, she pardoned herself and others, and arose from the darkness as a glowing lovely woman. This particular work reflects my own journey of facing adversity and darkness during the pandemic, and being able to rise above. I lost my dearest teacher, Padma Shree Dr. Sobha Naidu, who was also my mother’s guru. It was excruciating. I struggled to dance for weeks because of the large void this created in my life, along with the fact I had the most difficult and isolating job during the surge with patient care. In the end, dance somehow just pulled me into its outstretched arms, made me value the sensitivity my guru brought to each movement in her choreography, and dragged me out of a deep abyss. My appreciation for her and my love for dance grew stronger day by day. I began this process of unlearning, allowed myself to be vulnerable, and understood the importance of dancing with integrity.