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Pravahaman by Ashimbandhu: Welcoming the spring through live performance

The live performance of Pravahaman by Kathak performer/teacher Ashimbandhu Bhattacharjee brought a breath of fresh air during pandemic times.

Upasana Centre for dance welcomed spring through music and dance. Asimbandhu Bhattacharjee, Upasana’s Artistic Director wove a rich textile of music and dance on stage with his learnt idiom of Kathak. He is a dancer with a difference. With the technic of Kathak richly embedded in his physic, his love of poetry draws him to the works of great poets which he transliterates into the language of Kathak. During these difficult times when virtual programmes have become the order of the day, Upasana Centre ventured out to welcome spring through dance in Satyajit auditorium of ICCR, in Kolkata, maintaining social distancing. The joy of spring could not perhaps accept any barriers. The much-awaited season of spring was embraced with open arms.

Vasanta-abahan was a presentation by the Upasana centre for dance. The beauty of spring is best expressed in group dance and there could not have been a better choice than the group rendition presented in raga Basant Bahar, set to teental the music of which was composed by Chandrachur  Bhattacharjee.

The stage was then set for a solo Kathak rendition by Ramaprasad Chottopadhya Ashimbandhu’s partner in rhythm. Shiva Stuti “Damaru harka baje” by him was a connoisseurs delight. Mastery over Kathak teental is the ultimate in a performer and it is here that the performer excelled.

A true lover of flawless rendition of Kathak Ashimbandhu gave the platform next to Luna Poddar, his sister-in-rhythm who has always won the heart of her audience with the magic of her dance. The sounds of her ghungroo/ankle bells have always had a mesmerizing effect. Her stage appearance after a long gap was heartening. Luna began her recital with Krishna bandana following it up with taal Dhamar.  Her recital ended emoting bhakti-bhava with a Sufi song.

In keeping with modern-day ethos of mixing and matching more than one form of widely differing classical dance “Samannay” was the next offering in both styles of Kathak and Oddisi, conceptualized and choreography by Ashimbandhu Bhattacharjee. The Odissi dancers with their sculpturesque bearings took you to the temple sculptures of Odisha. The group of all-male dancers of legendary Kelucharan Mohapatra style of Odissi – Rajib  Bhattacharjee,  Arnab Bandopadhayay, Subikash Mukherjee, Subrato Pandit, Avik  Chaki and  Sandip Sarkar juxtaposed fascinatingly with the dance of Kathak Ashimbandhu Bhattacharjee.

The individual is an incredible entity. But the journey remains incomplete until one mingles with another.  As the malevolent power of  Kathak coalesces with the feminine grace of Odissi life blooms into divine celebration. Together they presented Shiva stuti in praise of Shiva. Mangal geeti in pure Odissi style through the immortal verse from Jayadeva’s Geeta Govinda ‘Sirta Kamala…” in Raag Misra Khambaj and taal Jyoti -the dance and music composed by Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and Bhubaneswar Mishra, performed next was an epitome of lyrical beauty and grace.

Ananda Tandav in Taal Dhamar -the creation of which is by Nataraj/the Lord of dance himself was in Kathak style by Ashimbandhu himself.

The intermingling between the ancient religion of the followers of Sanatan Dharma/ popularly known as Hinduism and the Islamic religion gave birth to the great Bhakti Movement with a plethora of saints, Guru Nanak Dev being one of them. A bhajan from the works of this great saint was choreographed and presented devoutly by Guru Ashimbandhu Bhattacharjee. The curtains were drawn with Moksha.

Strangely every man aspires for salvation.

The very man, who loves this life with such passionate fervour, pines for freedom from the cycle of the flesh. His final yearning lies in his ultimate reunion with his Beloved Master.

Lights were by Dinesh Podder, Musicians- tabla by Biswajit Pal, Aniruddha Mukherjee, Sitar by Chandrachur Bhattacharjee and Vocal by Arindam Bhattacharjee.

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