Savitha Sastry fondly known as the “dancing storyteller” has crossed 1 million views on her latest dance production Slow Rivers. Slow Rivers is a short film from the production house of Bharatanatyam Danseuse Savitha Sastry, and her partner AK Srikanth - who is also the Writer and Director of the film. In its intense denouement, Slow Rivers brings back memories of earlier productions such as Dvija and Saffron, which Savitha and AK Srikanth had released to critical acclaim last year. Ashish Vidyarthi and the protagonist Savitha Sastry star together for the first time, in roles that crackle with power every time the two appear on screen together. The confrontation between the two goes far beyond just their roles, into philosophies of the relationship between an Art and the Artiste.
We discuss the success of Slow Rivers in an interview with Savitha Sastry.
- Slow Rivers has crossed 1 million views. Did you expect it to be such a hit?
The response has certainly delighted us! Given that it was a rather serious subject, and a subject belonging to the genre of mindbenders, we had thought it would be appreciated by those that love this sort of genre – but no, we did not expect this would gain such widespread viewership and accolades from the critics and the audiences alike.
- How does it feel to see Bharatanatyam reach a wider audience through a medium like YouTube?
I feel validated. The whole purpose of going digital from my earlier avatar of being a stage performer was to capitalise on the reach of the digital medium. The audience that is watching our productions now is a world audience – and it would be physically impossible to get to these kinds of numbers through stage performances.
- Any feedback which particularly stood out to you?
The kinds of feedback we received have all been extremely heart-warming. I think one of my acquaintances inadvertently referred to me by my screen name of Sravaka instead of calling me Savitha – it probably is the one instance I shall hold close to my heart. Just goes on to speak about the impact the character had on her.
- How do you think your productions contribute to the preservation and promotion of Bharatnatyam as a traditional Indian dance form?
The idea is to make the dance form accessible and interesting to the lay-person, without sacrificing any of its elements for the connoisseurs. Traditional art forms have seen less interest in the younger generations over the years given the multitudes of entertainment options available to them I think my productions, because of the fact that they are based on novel stories, have played their part in widening the community that appreciates traditional Indian art by presenting it to them in a format they have not seen before.
5) Which are the future productions in the pipeline?
There are two productions we are currently working on – one is titled ‘The Ghost of the Lighthouse’, which is a gentle tale from a sea-side village (not a ghost story!), and the other is ‘Soul Cages’ – which incidentally was the first production I made for stage in 2011, and is now reimagined and rewritten for screen. These are both scripted by my partner AK Srikanth (the writer and director of Slow Rivers)