Raghunath Manet is one of the greatest Indian dancers in the world. He made Bharatha Natyam popular and opened its door to male dancers. He is also a choreographer, a veena player ( it’s a kind of huge lute that you can see in the photo above).
Despite his fame in France, (he was knighted by the French government and took part in many French shows), Raghunat Manet is still a mystery. How old is he? Is he married? Where does he live? Is he a God? Is he a man? Difficult to really know…
It was the first time I had seen him on stage. It was at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.
You may ask: But what was an Indian man doing in a place dedicated to the Arabic culture?
Actually, the performance was called « Mughul India » and Raghunath Manet was not on his own on stage. Tunisian violin player Jasser Haj Youssef was there to collaborate with the amazing dancer. I must admit the two men do not have the same physical appearance and you may wonder what on Earth they can do together! Actually, as soon as Manet touches the strings of his veena and Youssef joins him by making his violin weep, it is quite magical and enchanting!
However, what I preferred was the dancing parts. Raghunat Manet is both graceful and virile. His face has determined and godlike expressions and his gestures are broad and generous. It is a real pleasure for people who like dance…- and the others! – and this show really made me feel like seeing other performances like that.
Click here to watch a report on Youtube and you’ll see that Manet speaks French perfectly!