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SNA’s Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar 2017 for young dancers and musicians

Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar 2017 were announced on 19th June. Yuva Puraskar, given to artistes below the age of 40 years, was introduced in the year 2006 with the objective of identifying and encouraging outstanding young talents in diverse fields of performing arts and giving them national recognition early in their life, so that they may work with greater commitment and dedication in their chosen fields.

Amidst a lot of excitement, disgruntled voices and hullabaloo on the social media, we have shaped up a fair bit of an image on our canvas about the young maestros who have been awarded the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar by the Sangeet Natak Akademi.

Here is a quick glance at the artists, their journey and the reasons that went behind the conference of this prestigious award.

Aditya Khandwe |PC: FB Page

The rare romanticism of Benaras style thumri and the edginess of the Jaipur and Gwalior Gharanas – this is what makes Aditya Khandwe one of the very remarkable artists of his generation and age. Adiyta has trained under Ganyogini Smt. Dhondutai Kulkarni and has learned Thumri from his mother. He has won many awards for his Natyasangeet performances.


Sawani Shende |PC: FB Page

Sawani Shende has had a colourful array of training from very renowned musicians that include her own grandmother, Smt. Kusum Shende and her father, Pt. Sanjeev Shende. A trained vocalist of the Kirana Gharana, Sawani has the wonderful combination of grace, tradition and charisma on stage. She has been specially accoladed for her laya and drama which were probably a gift of Shobha Gurtu ji and Pt. Ajay Pohankar under whom, she has trained for a while. Her taan patterns were an influence of her training under the eminent, Dr. Veena Sahasrabuddhe.

Rimpa Siva |PC: FB Page

Rimpa Siva is a powerhouse of a talent, a child prodigy and a very charismatic performer from Kolkata who has trained under her father, Shri Swapan Siva of the Farrukkhabad Gharana. Rimpa has accompanied maestros in tours in all the continents and has also enthralled audiences with her Tabla solos. Try watching the French documentary online which was made about her – Rimpa Siva – The Princess of Tabla.

Amaan-Ayaan Ali Bangash| PC:

Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash need no introduction. A long-awaited milestone has finally been realised with this joint-puraskar and the journey ahead for these two brothers do seem bright musically.

Prasanna Venkataraman |PC: Hariharan Sankaran

Another interesting recipient of this year’s Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskaar is Prasanna Venkatraman, a Carnatic vocalist originally from Mumbai.  Prasanna received his initial training from his mother’s friend,  Seethalakshmi, mother of Bombay Jayashri and later from  T. R. Balmani, T.K.Govinda Rao and Shri Sanjay Subrahmanyan. Prasanna completed his M Tech in electrical engineering in IIT Madras and works at Qualcomm Inc now.


Trivendram N Sampath has a dexterity on the violin that has made him one of the most beloved accompanists in the Carnatic Music circuit. Sampath has accompanied many senior musicians such as Trichur V. Ramachandran, and Ravikiran, T.V. Sankaranarayanan, O.S. Thyagarajan, T.K. Gopalakrishnan, Mathangi Satyamoorthy, Parassala Ponnammal,  and Sreevalsan J. Menon. Listening and expanding his repertoire of Ragas has been a core learning and growing principle of this young maestro and he believes that this is what has helped him in his journey as a musician.

Trivendram N Sampath |PC: FB Page
Parshwanath Upadhye| PC: Inni Singh

Change is always welcome and in the Sangeet Natak Akademi zone, when the recipient of the Ustad Bismillah Khan Puraskaar is somebody who has also ventured out of traditional genres and trodden the unknown turf, it is always a step forward for the entire community. Parshwanath Upadhye’s integration into this year’s list of awardees is one such achievement and hope for all of us. Of course, yes, the award has been given to him for his rootedness and propagation of Bharatnatyam, but Upadhye is well known for his creative ventures in this art form. He is a recipient of eight national awards and imparts training to many at the Upadhye School of Dance and Punyah Dance Company, both based in Bangalore.

Vidha Lal |PC: FB Page

Poise, grace, beauty and virtuosity – all rolled into one, Vidha Lal is the disciple of Smt. Geetanjali Lal, also her mother-in-law, from the Jaipur Gharana of Kathak Dance. One of the noteworthy achievements of this young performer is her record of 103 spins in one minute, which has engraved her in the Guinness Book of World Records.

A regular performer and almost a veteran for his age and intensity, C.M. Unnikrishnan from Kerala receives the Yuva Puraskaar for Kathakali this year. We will be posting more on this artist and the art form in Classical Claps soon. Stay tuned.

Bhavna Reddy| PC: Inni Singh

Bhavna Reddy has received the puraskaar for Kuchipudi this year. Bhavna is young, versatile and belongs to a legacy deeply rooted in Kuchipudi as well as one that has given her the freedom to experiment with other forms. Daughter of Raja and Radha reddy, she has performed in the after party of the Grammy Awards and has also sung a song for the Hollywood movie, Joy Ride 3.

Adhikari Mayum Radha Manbi Devi has received the Yuva Puraskaar in the Manipuri Dance category. We could not find much information about this artist on the net nor get in touch with her immediately, but we promise to come ack with exciting stories from the exotic land of Manipur and its dance form soon.

Janhabi Behera| PC: FB Page

Janhabi Behera has received the award for Odissi Dance for 2017. Janhabi trained under Guru Shri Yudhisthir Nayak, Guru Ramesh Chandra Jena and later, under Guru Padmashree Gangadhar Pradhan. The fluidity of movements, sharpness of expression and deep poise lend an aura to Behera’s stage presence and have made her one of the finest artists of our country.

Sudesh Adhana has learned Chauu Dance and Kathakali in India before moving to Oslo, Norway and basing himself there. Adhana is deeply experimental and fearless in his transgression and assimilation of genres and has created a form which is stark, straight-forward as a medium of expression. He has been awarded the Yuva Puraskaar in the Contemporary Dance category.

Sai Shravanam| PC: FB Page

Sai Shravanam from Chennai has received the award for his evocative music in the Music for Dance category. Another man of interesting trivia – he has self-taught Tabla by watching and listening to Ustad Zakir Hussain when his motivation got fired after watching the Wah Taj ad film on TV where Ustad Zakir Hussain’s hair and fingers were flying. He is an alumnus of Madras University and a former project associate at IIT Madras. Sai Shravanam has played the Tabla in the background score of Life of Pi, worked with Illayaraaja and recorded many artists in his studio.

Also read: Sangeet Natak Akademi announced Akademi Puraskar-2017

Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards – of anger, disagreement and courage…

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