Esplanade Presents


Naga Mandala

Punyah Dance Company (India)

17 Nov 2023, Fri, 8pm

18 Nov 2023, Sat, 8pm

19 Nov 2023, Sun, 3pm


(Intermission: None)

Esplanade Theatre Studio

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Adapted from the folk tale Naga mandala by Girish Karnad, this dance production uses the gigi pada where artists become narrators, actors and storytellers.


In depicting chauvinism of rural India where women still lack a voice, the story revolves around a newlywed couple. The protagonist Rani is sad and lonely because of her husband’s disinterest in her. One day she is led into a mystic forest where she finds a flower to create a love potion. However, this potion is eventually thrown onto an ant hill and unbeknownst to Rani, a shape-shifting snake lives in this ant hill. The snake falls in love with Rani and treats her like a queen.


The audience are left with the questions on Rani’s mind—does she make a choice or let society decide for her? Is the snake now part of her husband, like two sides of the same coin? The essence of the choreography unfolds in four sections: Suruli (the loop), Hanati (the inner desires), Aakasmika (there are no accidents) and Dwanda (the duality), revealing the emotions of Rani, her husband and the shape-shifting snake.


Gigi pada is a prominent form of folk music from North Karnataka. Here, the female singer plays the drum along with two other male artists, one of whom plays a string instrument while the other plays the cymbals. The topics they sing about vary from folklore to social issues to create awareness.


The choreography of this work adopts the storytelling quality of the gigi pada, where narrators use the phrases gigi/gagiya gi to connect the points of the narrative.


There will be a post show talk on 18 and 19 November after the performance.



Concept and lyrics

Parshwanath Upadhye



Adithya PV

Shruti Gopal

Parshwanath Upadhye


Light design

Keerti Kumar


Music recording

Aravind studio, Bangalore


Sound engineer

P Nagaraj



Harsha Samaga



Chandana Bala Kalyan

Rohith Bhat Uppoor

Sri Lakshmi Belmannu



Pradesh Achar

Narayan Sharma



Raghunandan Ramakrishna

Mahesha Swamy

Rakesh Dath



Suma Rani



Shubha Santosh


Kanjeera and pads

Karthik Vydhathri

Pranav Dath


Stills and video

Aj Dance photography

Arjun Jith

Admission Age:
6 and above.
Things to Note:
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Artist Information

Punyah Dance Company

Punyah Dance Company is a Bangalore based dynamic dance company headed by Parshwanath Upadhye. The company is co-headed by Adithya PV and Shruti Gopal. This team of classically trained artists present unique, impactful choreography with perfect execution, passion and grace.


Approaching India's favourite epics with a fresh and young perspective, Punyah hopes to entertain as well as spark a love for one of the world's oldest heritage. Punyah has produced and successfully presented four works in the last five years, namely Hara, Sadgathi, Partha and Abha.

Date & Time

17 Nov 2023, Fri


Esplanade Theatre Studio

18 Nov 2023, Sat


Esplanade Theatre Studio

19 Nov 2023, Sun


Esplanade Theatre Studio
Tickets & Prices

Students, NSFs, Seniors & PWDs

Price $35 $28

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