April 20, 2011
has already passed since maestro Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra passed away.
Responsible for the revival, preservation and promotion of Odissi, one
of the most graceful dances of India, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra had made
incomparable efforts and lit the lamp of this dance form around the globe
for its lovers and enthusiasts. Known for perfection and excellence in
abhinaya and intricate choreographies of pure dance pieces, Guruji has
left behind immense wealth for everyone associated with Odissi today. Across
the globe, this down to earth man has plenty of fans, followers and students,
who with their interest and passion for Odissi, have kept this wonderful
man alive forever in their hearts.
a tribute was paid to Guruji by popular Odissi dancer and teacher Sharmila
Mukerjee, a senior student of Guruji and Director of Bangalore based institute
Sanjali Centre for Odissi dance. Sharmila had invited Gurujis son and
disciple Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, Director of Srjan, to join hands in paying
tribute to Guruji. At ADA Rangamandira Auditorium, near the entrance, was
a beautiful picture of Guruji decorated with flowers and the display board
saw information about the artists of the evening as well as about the host
institution. The stage was set with 6 ascending bells and one lamp in the
centre, hanging down from the ceiling. The left side of the stage saw a
beautiful 4.5 feet (approx) high picture of Guruji decorated with flowers
along with a lamp stand by the side and a hanging bell, giving a temple
like atmosphere. After the welcome speech by the students of Sharmila Mukerjee,
the chief guest of the evening Padmini Ravi, Bharatanatyam exponent and
teacher, offered flowers to Guruji and lit the inaugural lamp along with
Ratikant Mohapatra and Sharmila Mukerjee. Other well known artistes such
as Bhanumati, Lalitha Srinivasan and Chitra Dasarathy were also present
on the occasion.
began with Sharmila Mukerjees solo invocatory piece “Shiva Stuti” set
in the Mangalacharan format. The dancer was draped in a nice yellow costume
and the beautiful music was set to Raag Madhuvanti and Ardhajumpha tala,
a piece originally choreographed by Sanjukta Panigrahi. Sharmilas solo
with neat balances, perfect tribhangs and good chaukas conveyed her talent
as well as experience in the field.
presentation included a trio dance “Pallavi” from the traditional repertoire
of Odissi. Set in Saveri Raag and ek taali, the piece was presented by
the students of Sanjali. Originally choreographed by Guruji and crafted
for the evening by Sharmila Mukerjee, the 3 dancers were draped in red
and black colored costumes. It was nicely presented and was a correct choice
as the second item of the evening.
Next was a
solo by Ratikant Mohapatra, a Tulsidas bhajan on Lord Rama, the popular
“Sri Ramachandra Kripalu Bhajamana.” It was set to Ragamalika and Jati
and Adi tala. The music was composed by Pradeep Kumar Das and choreographed
by Ratikant Mohapatra. It was nice to see multiple characters portrayed
aptly by Ratikant Mohapatra, which spoke of his mastery of abhinaya and
body language in dance required as per the various characters needs. Two
episodes, one of Sita Swayamvara and the other of Rama-Ravana fight
were beautifully projected. Through this piece, Ratikant Mohapatra proved
his talent in choreography as well as presentation. At the end of his solo,
he offered a shastang pranam to his Guruji / father.
Next was a
strong presentation by Rajashri Praharaj, a Pallavi set to Bhupeshwari
Raga and adi tala for music composed by Pradeep Das and choreographed by
Ratikant Mohapatra. Draped in a neat white and red costume, this fit and
energetic danseuse presented this well practiced piece showcasing her immense
capacity and knowledge in Odissi. Next was a Shiva Panchakshari Stotram,
a duet presented by two young students of Sanjali. Great qualities of Lord
Shiva were depicted. It was set to Rupaka tala and Behag raga. This piece
was very well choreographed for a duet and the two dancers justified Sharmila
Mukerjees good training capabilities. At the climax, beautifully coordinated
poses and postures were depicted neatly by the flexible dancers.
The final presentation
of the program was a duet by Ratikant Mohapatra and Rajashri Praharaj titled
Jatayu Moksha taken from the Ramacharita Manas. It was in Ragamalika
and Talamalika with music by Lakshmikant and choreography by Ratikant Mohapatra.
The interesting entry on the stage by the dancers showcased Ravana bringing
Sita, which was very well coordinated and promised depth in the item in
the beginning itself. The highlight of the item was Ratikant Mohapatra
portraying the struggle of the injured Jatayu in an excellent manner. Both
dancers presented multiple characters and made the item appeal strongly
to the audience.
ended with a vote of thanks presented by Sharmila Mukerjee and an apt short
speech by Ratikant Mohapatra. The program aptly titled Samsmaranam was
a good opportunity for the Odissi lovers in Bangalore to observe these
in English, Manasi (Pandya) Raghunandan is an Odissi and Bharatanatyam
dancer, and a freelance writer based in Bangalore.