Picturing Passion: Paintings of the Gita Govinda

How to Cite

Cynthia Packert. (2022). Picturing Passion: Paintings of the Gita Govinda: Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 22(1), 219–230. Retrieved from https://ivsjournal.com/index.php/jvs/article/view/305


In the extravagant 2002 film Devdas, an adaptation of the 1917 Bengali novel by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, the Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan (as the doomed protagonist Devdas) plays Krishna to his beloved Paro’s Radha (played by Aishwarya Rai) during a highly seductive nighttime lovers’ rendezvous. Against the background lyrics of More Piya (my beloved), the encounter unfolds in a wooded clearing near a river’s edge. Shot in deep shades of blue and black, the scene is illuminated by bright shafts of moonlight
sparkling against the rushing river, silhouetting “Radha’s” white sari, which clings even more tightly to the curves of her sensuous body after “Krishna” playfully splashes her while she fills a clay water-jug. The developing sequence of the drama of love-play—flirtation, invitation, anticipation, coyness, fear, excitement, teasing, glances, erotic caresses—builds until the couple finally
languishes in each other’s arms, stretched along the length of a tree trunk. As the scene concludes, the camera moves toward a vision of a rushing waterfall, pointedly evoking the final release of their combined passion. 

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