Tribute to Kelubabu
- Vijay Shanker

May 7, 2013

Bhavan's Cultural Centre with the support from Sanyuktam and Smitalay presented Anusaran, a program in tribute to celebrated Odissi exponent Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra at the Pranganga Amphitheatre in Mumbai on 7th April. It was interesting to watch six Odissi dancers coming together to perform and to pay homage to their mentor in their own individualistic style.

The dancers who performed were Kum Kum Lal (Delhi), Aloka Kanungo (Kolkata), Meera Das (Cuttack), Debi Basu, Jhelum Paranjape and Daksha Mashruwala (Mumbai). Although all of them have been the disciples of Kelubabu, the senior most being Kum Kum Lal who has been learning since 1974, each of them performed in their own innate style and elegance. The highlight of the program was the portrayal of varied roles of women and their significance.

Meera Das 

Kum Kum Lal 

Aloka Kanungo

Debi Basu

Daksha Mashruwala

Jhelum Paranjape

The program commenced with the traditional invocatory number in praise of Lord Krishna performed by Meera Das with involvement and devotion. Kum Kum Lal's performance was noteworthy for its slow, undulating and elegant movements which is the mainstay of the Odissi dance style. Kum Kum depicted Radha as the ‘virahotkantita’ nayika as she bears the pangs of separation and is smitten by the ‘pancha-banas’ revealing the various emotional state of the heroine. The dancer succeeded in interpreting the emotions of Radha in a commendable manner.

Aloka Kanungo performed an Oriya composition revealing the role of ‘sakhi’ or friend of the heroine. She also performed Dasa Mahavidya that portrayed the benevolent and the virile aspect of the goddess. Aloka's powerful movements revealed the Shaivite influence in the Odissi style. Debi Basu presented an extract from Tulsidas’s Sri Ramcharitamanas that presented the concise version of Ramayana. Debi scored in the abhinaya while depicting episodes like Sita Haran and the ultimate defeat of Ravana.

Daksha Mashruwala performed a number depicting Parvati. This number also exposed the concept of Shiva and Shakti in the form of Ardhanarishwara. Jhelum Paranjape's portrayal of Draupadi was amazing. The game of dice between Kauravas and the Pandavas, the miserable plight of Draupadi as she questions her five husbands and ultimately Lord Krishna as the saviour, was performed with wonderful dramatic quality. The choreography was by Guru Pankaj Charan Das. The program concluded with number of salvation or eternal bliss known as ‘Moksha.’ The compere of the evening was the charming Odissi dancer Sangeeta Rajan.

Vijay Shankar is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.