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30th Pandit Durgalal Festival by SamVed held

The 30th Pandit Durgalal Festival organised by Sam Ved Society for Performing Arts was held on 22nd February at Ravindra Natya Mandir in Mumbai. Lead by Kathak exponent Pandita Uma Dogra, Sam Ved has been organising the festival in the memory of great guru and doyen of the Jaipur Gharana style of Kathak, late Pandit Durgalalji. Celebrating 30 years of artistic fervour Samved has planned a series of events throughout the year and this marks the first.

Kathak Exponent Pandit Durgalal Ji. Photo reproduced from Bharatiya Kala Kendra: V.V.Krishnan

The evening was started with a performance by students of Pandita Uma Dogra, Indrayanee Mukherjee and Sarita Kalale who showcased the panch jati shiv stuti, the melancholy of jov in the words of Brahmanandum premasukham. The audience witnessed a spectrum of colours in their expression dhem dhem dhem tanana followed by the presentation in Pancham sawari. Beginning with uthaan takita dhikita tak, the thaat was gracious n bountiful. Teehai, Tripaali and the Pipilila jatee paraan were well presented ending in Pramelu by Indrayaneee and Taav thunngaa by Sarita. The duo presented thumri written by Umaji and sufi by Amir khusro in baithaak bhav. The dance was knitted together by Satyaprakash Mishra on tabla, Manoj Desai on vocals, Sandip Mishra on Sarangi, beautiful notes on sitar were by Smt Alka Gujar with Smt. Uma Dogra on padhant.

Students of Pandita Uma Dogra | PC: Suresh Muraleedharan

SNA’s Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar awardee Mayurbhanj Chhau dancer and choreographer Rakesh Sai Babu presented a beautiful amalgam of Chau and Bharatanatyam. Along with his wife Priya Srinivasan, Rakesh enlivened the narratives of shiva and Parvati, Krishna Radha each through the vocabulary of their own dance forms. Chau was gracious and on beat depicting Shiva in his divine glory while Priya had the soft moves with expressions of the divine energy Shakti of shiva masculine aspect supreme strength of being n nom being, He the universe himself while she the embodiment of feminine principles depicted so well by Rakesh and Priya in synchrony with themselves, the rhythm and movement.

Odissi Dance Sharmila Biswas | PC: Suresh Muraleedharan

The piece bujhat shyam, Krishna in his youth, naath hari from Geet Govind, emoted divinity, grace and poise. There was a beautiful interweaving of two styles, two characters each holding a space of its own in the cosmos.

The last performance for the evening was actually the beginning or an eye opener Surpanakha, by Odissi exponent Sharmila Biswas. Katha surpanakha, the story from surpanakha herself, black ugly grotesque the princess of Dandkaranya portrayed in the no makeup look pure and naive sundar rupo. The narrative tataha kim, tataha kim what happened echoed with the vibhatsa raso avatar when she has no face at all, viroopa. The pain n anguish of a demon princess surpanakha conveyed through loud, bold and sharp expressions were a treatise and her hastakas were like an adornment weaving magic on stage, making you fall in love with the real surpanakha the one within us.

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