Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beauty Interpreted.

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
John Keats could not have been more right!. Art as such is beautiful, be it in the form of literature, music, painting or cinema, there is a certain beauty to it, and that cannot be denied. But when a truly imaginative mind explores a piece of art, tying loose ends, painting pictures out of the dark and unknown, horizons are expanded and a myriad of colours arise like a new rainbow discovered hiding, in what was initially a simple cloud. The beauty of art is metaphorically enhanced so much in it's interpretation.

And such examples have been many indeed.! In that sense, take poetry, their rhyming and simple lyrical quality lends them a beauty, but it is when different minds absorb different things, different meanings and evoking different emotions altogether, that a few words of poetry become so surreal and heavenly. So then take the case of an epic, like Mahabharatha, which is simply speaking a story of sibling rivalry and war, but how much of further analysis storytelling, painting and other art forms it has spurned!.

Raja Ravi Varma, wondered how Shakuntala would have looked like, and then gifted us the most beautiful paintings, that seem so heavenly and out of the world even today. So many philosophers, over a great long period of time, added to and carved, a beautiful piece, the Bhagavad Gita, which beyond being about religion, gives simple facts that lend meaning to life. Like life itself, art begets art.

Recently read "After Kurukshetra", by Mahaswetha Devi, a great author, a fiery social activist and a wonderful woman. She elegantly crafts three stories, with the Mahabharatha in the backdrop, looking at it from angles, in ways, we have never looked at conventionally. What was the common man doing at that time.? How did they react to the war? What is right and what is wrong.? Was kunti's abandoning of Karna, her only mistake. Why did she not acknowledge him later.? Is that correct from today's standpoint, so then were moral values not at part then.?

While Mahabharatha remains the backdrop, she crafts three beautiful stories set upon it's fringes, which analyzes issues like social inequality, widow remarriage and freedom of women in a subtle, beautiful manner, and the irony is that through the eyes of the characters she creates, we look at the characters, we had known to be symbolic of righteousness and then realize how successfully, they have been painted gray. The irony is that in many ways we then realize that when it comes to politics and class differences, things are not much different even today. Talking about irony, wasn't Mahaswetha Devi also the person, who created that beautiful character of Shanichari in the short story, Rudaali. A woman who suffers from grief all her life, and ultimately when shedding tears becomes her profession, her tears have no grief in them. Was Shanichari, her interpretation of Kunti.? A question again, probably which will get an answer in another work of art, when someone, later looks at the works of Mahaswetha Devi in 'that' unique way.

There are questions, which arise in our mind, only when an interpretation initiates us to ask them. To look at a piece of art, from angles we've never thought about, is an exercise that really adds layers to our understanding of any work of art.

When Literature, poetry and paintings vibrate with the sheer energy inherited from one source of inspiration, can visual and aural arts like music and dance be far behind. Take for instance, Shobhana's dance drama, Maya Raavan, which also happens to sketch the romantic, scholar and poet in Ravana, the villain of the piece, Ramayana.

In that sense, nature itself is a work of art. Daffodils were there much before Wordsworth was born. When M.T.Vasudevan Nair scripts a tale like vyshali, or when keats crafts untold stories from a grecian urn or on looking into Illiad and Odyssey, we know that in the end, there's only more art, more beauty, more interpretation and more life.


vishesh said...


Priya said...


Brilliant research ther and it remind me of the poem I wrote few days back is art perfection or impression. Beauty always lies in the mind than eyes coz when we see we think and it brings a magic to the eye.

Prash said...

You are right. Daffodils existed before Wordsworth. People started looking at Daffodils in a different way after him !

Srijith Unni said...

@Vishesh : Is there anything at all that you dont write about..? ;-) me not surprised actually.!

@Priya : Yes, beauty lies in the mind, and not only that, art is born, from interpretation of art, which keeps adding more beauty and respect to art.!

@Prash : and that's what i call path breaking work..! Wordsworth was a genuine genius.!

starry nights said...

enjoyed reading this post.thanks for stopping by.I missed all of you and am glad to be back.

nalini said...

Hi srijith,
Was good to read ur blog.U do have an aesthetic sense!

laura said...

Just stumbled into your site when searching materials for Mahasweta devi.
You've written about your questions. If you don't mind, let me know about them...
Good to know about your interest in literature. if you can please do get hold of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.This deals with existentialist questions.
Also read Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner. This is about the problems of man.
God bless, Laura