THE MIST OF CAPRICORN
‘Pururavas and Urvashi’ is one of the most illustrious paintings of Raja Ravivarma.
It portrays the intense love between the two epic characters – as in every age an immortal love that is frustrated by the ‘powers-that-be’.
Pururavas was extremely fond of birds and. The celestial beings above get envious of the sublime love of this mortal and sought ways to break his selfless devotion. They sent Urvasi, the enchanting apsaras to lure him and destroy his powers.
Urvasi had always been in love with Pururavas. She approached him as a village girl to lure him with carnal offerings. Urvasi gradually lost herself in her love for him.
Seeing their plans being upset, the gods above called her back. Though she knew she was being cheated, she had to keep her word. She has to return to her own world. It is this heartbreaking moment of parting that Ravivarma captured in his immortal painting.
Running parallel to the ‘story’ of the painting, is the relationship between the painter and Sugandha, the model. She also comes into his world from another one, and an intense relationship develops between the two. But once the assignment is over, she has to return. Moreover, the ‘society’ around them is intolerant to their love and its tumultuous depths.
‘Makaramanju’ (The Mist of Capricorn) thus portrays a situation where the creator and the creation, the painter and the model, transform into the very subjects of their creation.