Mohapatra Award Festival 2008
- Kirti Dahale,
Mohapatra, one of the architects of Odissi dance, who passed away on 7
April 2004, has left a vast legacy of his gharana - teaching, performing
and a quest for new creation. His legacy is ably being carried forward
by his son and disciple guru Ratikant Mohapatra, his family and esteemed
members of Srjan.
For the last
fourteen years, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival has become a landmark
event in the cultural calendar of Orissa. The city of Bhubaneswar
has been witnessing a galaxy of artistes of Indian classical dance and
music through this festival. Surely guru Kelucharan Mohapatra must be a
very happy man at god's place, on seeing the art form of Odissi in safe
hands and flourishing further with constant and continued good efforts.
year, on September 5th 6th and 7th, this year also the people of Bhubaneswar
enjoyed the treat of seeing and hearing good dance and music.
The festival began
with an Odissi performance by Namrata Gupta from Mumbai, disciple of Daksha
Mashruwala. Of her three presentations, the Oriya abhinaya "Prana sangini
re" was a hit. The nuances of Radha and Krishna's abhinaya were neatly
expressed and Daksha's sensible training was very clearly seen in Namrata’s
performance. Then followed a recital of bhakti bhava laden Sattriya dance
from Guwahati, Assam, by Anita Sharma and her group. Watching the lucid
and graceful movements, very much typical to this dance form that is devotional
in character, eyes and mind settle down in tranquillity. The first day
concluded with a flute recital by Rakesh Chaurasia, the nephew of Pt. Hariprasad
Chaurasia. Close your eyes and you will experience the replica of Pt. Chaurasia.
His performance showed his worthy training from his uncle. His rendition
of raga Bachaspati, especially in lower notes was stupendous. Accompanying
him on tabla, Tanmoy Bose was at his best.
The second evening
on 6th September started with a stunning performance of Bharatanatyam by
Dr. Jyotsna Jagannathan. A well trained dancer from Chennai, this doctor
has carved a niche for herself in Bharatanatyam. Her choice of items for
the non-Tamilian audience was perfect. Ganesha stuti as an opening item
was followed by two abhinaya items. The Marathi song "Rusali Radha Rusala
Krishna" and Hindi song of poet Surdas, "Maiya more mein nahin makhan khaiya"
brought clear depiction of sanchari bhavas created by guru Kalanidhi Narayan.
Jyotsna not only learns abhinaya from her but also works in details of
her own for the exact modulation of body language and facial expressions.
Certainly Jyotsna Jagannathan is a dancer to watch any time.
second presentation was 'Dashamahavidya,' a group Odissi dance presentation
by Aloka Kanungo and her disciples from Kolkata. Ten dancers on stage with
blood red coloured costumes, was very hard for viewers' eyes to register.
Her entire production had been planned with few props to form the designs
of the Jantras of Dashamahavidya and video projection in the cyclorama.
As usual Aloka Kanungo's choreography and the performance of her group
were good but somehow this reviewer felt that the content of video projection
behind could not match the dance except in a few places.
Aloka Kanungo group
evening came to an end with an outstanding Carnatic Saxophone recital by
Saxophone Sisters - M S Lavanya and M S Subbulaxmi with other very talented
musicians. The violin accompaniment by S Kartik with saxophone was even
better. The combination of these two instruments and its vibrant playing
by the artistes created majestic melody, adding richness to each other's
playing. The Saxophone Sisters played Vatapi Ganapatim in raga Hamsadhwani
and Kamalabdakula, a Thyagaraja composition in raga Brundavanasaranga.
The final day
of the festival-the much awaited evening on 7th September, the Guru Kelucharan
Mohapatra Award giving ceremony brought Kelu babu's memory alive and created
an illusion of his presence on stage. Due to the State's political disturbances,
the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik could not attend the function. Hence
Debiprasad Mishra, the Minister for Tourism gave away the awards to Kumudini
Devi (theatre), Nikhil Baran Sengupta (cinema), Banamali Moharana (music)
and Ramani Ranjan Jena (dance) for their lifetime achievements in their
The GKCM Award
was instituted in 1995 by Guruji's son and disciple Ratikant Mohapatra.
Including this year, 31 artistes have been conferred with this prestigious
award so far. Also present on the dais were Bijay Chandra Jena (the Commissioner-cum-Secretary,
Culture, Orissa), who released the festival souvenir, Menaka Thakkar from
Canada, a senior disciple of Guruji, who brought Indian classical dance
to North America, Guruma Laxmipriya Mohapatra and Ratikant Mohapatra.
After this grand
award ceremony, Ratikant Mohapatra's new and innovative choreography 'Mrutyu'
was presented. It was wonderful to see the overflowing crowd that
filled the auditorium to capacity, standing in the aisle at two floors
waiting eagerly to see the new production. An abstruse theme, Mrutyu,
logically conceptualised by Ratikant, nicely scripted, with sensible light
design by Jaydev Das and Sankrit lyrics by Dr. Manmohan Acharya, left no
barriers in the audience's mind to understand this difficult theme. Adding
to this, Laxmikant Palit's music with the use of uncommon instruments like
saxophone and mandolin to Odissi was a treat to the ears.
of this dance drama, Mrutyu played by Rajashri Praharaj, Dharma by Rachna
Rimjhim, Gyana by Bijaylaxmi Satapathy, Prema by Swagatika Sahani, Shanti
by Manosmita Panda and the other dancers showed their good training. Their
neat and well synchronised movements deserve special mention. Ratikant
must be commended for his continued efforts to carry forward his father's
a talented and upcoming singer from Bhubaneswar, concluded the three day
long festival with a beautiful vocal recital. Odissi music has its own
individuality and Sagaraika's recital involved unconventional fusion of
Odissi and Sufi. This typical fusion singing elevates people's minds and
gives a new direction to their understanding of good music.
Nikhil Baran Sengupta
The Guru Kelucharan
Mohapatra Award festival was inaugurated on the first day by the State's
Culture Minister, Surayanaraya Patra along with other esteemed guests,
guru Jatin Goswami and S S Nandurdikar, Managing Director, Paradip Phosphate
Limited. The second day was inaugurated by Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare,
Governor of Orissa along with Secretary Tourism Mr. Parag Gupta.
in Mumbai, Kirti Dahale is a software & hardware engineer. She is also
a practitioner of Kathak dance.