Amritanjali Festival 2016
- Sowmya Jayabharathwaj
Photos courtesy: Amritanjali

July 30, 2016

Spectacular performances embellished Amritanjali Festival 2016 held on 16th and 17th July. One got to witness a really good variety of classical dances on both the days. The festival began with a very graceful display of Sattriya by Prateesha Suresh, who began with Madhura Muruti Muraru in raag Naatmallar set to sutkola taal and then brought out the subtle nuances of abhinaya in Sattriya through two compositions – Dekhu Mayi Awoto and Jani jayi paniyasi in raag Misra and ektaal. Next was an energetic performance by Dr. Ranjani Ganesan Ramesh and daughter Daksha Swaminathan Ramesh from Mumbai who brought the stage alive with a jugalbandi of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. They performed memorable thematic presentation Yugala comprising of Umamaheshwara stotram of Shankaracharya and Kapali by Papanasam Sivam in ragam Mohanam set to adi talam. This was followed by an Ambapuree stotram followed by Tanavarnam of Dr. Balamuralikrishna – Amma Ananda Daayini in ragam Gambheera Nattai set to adi talam. They ended with Chidambarastotram – Tirumrai – Ardhanareeshwaram composed by Irulneeki N. Ganesan.

Prateesha Suresh

Ranjani Ganesan Ramesh and Daksha Swaminathan Ramesh

Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya

Shambhavi’s International school of Kathak

Shashikala Ravi
The group from Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai gave a very interesting display of Panchamahabhutas. They showcased in this production the cosmic creation of the Universe – “The Bhramaand.” Three classical dance styles were blended beautifully in this choreography. Vaidehi Rele and Trusha Panchal performed Bharatanatyam, Ketaki Kulkarni Samarth performed Kathak and Mithila Pandya, Mohiniattam. The program ended with a very colourful display of Kathak by Shambhavi’s International school of Kathak, Pune, which was headed by Tejaswini Sathe, the director. The synchrony between the artistes was perfect and a pleasure to watch. They began with Har har Mahadev vandana followed by a superb display of teen taal by Tejaswini Sathe. They also presented a fusion track Malhar Jam, abhinaya item Aaj mori kalai and finally ended with a bandish Aayi aat dhoom dham where the ghungroos made sounds of falling raindrops. The other dancers who performed were Aishwarya Sane, Sharvari Bhide and Neha Karve.

July 17th began with a grand dance drama ‘Shankar Girijapati’ headed by Dr. Sangeeta Pethkar along with her troupe from Nasik. Stories from Shiva Purana related to marriage of Shiva and Parvati was very well brought out using Dhrupad, an ancient style of singing. Nine dancers performed in this production which was a blend of Bharatanatyam and Kathak. The other artistes who performed were Vishaka, Lavanya, Anuska, Khushi, Anjali, Rashmi and Ajay.

Then the stage came alive with a live presentation of Ashtanayika (the 8 heroines of Bharata in the Natya Shastra) by Dr. Shashikala Ravi who has studied abhinaya under Guru Kalanidhi Narayan. This performance was a tribute to her Guru who left for her heavenly abode recently. The Ashtanayika are grouped on the basis of the emotional states of a woman. Shashikala Ravi had aptly selected compositions of Kshetrayya, Muvallur Sabhapati Iyer, Pattabhiramayya, Dharmapuri Subbarayyar, Ghanam Krishnayyar, Melatur Kashinathiah and Karaveti Nagar Govindaswamy for her presentation. Her portrayal of these nayikas was commendable as she connected them in the form of a story that every woman could identify herself with. Explanations of each nayika in the song followed by presentation made it easy for everyone to understand. Years of experience and depth of understanding and training was visible in the performance. Excellent support was lent by N.N. Sivaprasad (vocal and nattuvangam), S. Shankarnarayanan (mridangam) and B. Anantharaman Ravi (violin).            

Sangeeta Pethkar & group

Vignesh Shankarnarayanan

The grand finale was a Carnatic vocal recital by 15 year old Vignesh Shankarnarayanan, son of mridangam vidwan S. Shankarnarayanan. He began his recital with a varnam Amma Anandadayini in Gambheera nattai set to adi talam, followed by Ram ka gungaan in Ahir Bhairav set to mishra chapu talam, Shambho Mahadeva in Pantuvarali set to rupakam, Chaliye kunjanamo in Brindavani Sarangm, Bholava Vittala and tillana in Revathi set to mishra chapu talam. He was supported by S. Shankarnarayanan (mridangam) and Anantharaman Ravi (violin). A very commendable performance inspiring to the youngsters of today.
All in all, a very good festival. Amritanjali Festival is hosted and conducted every year by Shashikala Ravi, Founder Director of Amritanjali School of Bharatanatyam in Pune where established artistes and upcoming artistes from various fields of classical dance and music are given a platform to perform. The festival takes place in the well equipped Amritanjali studio.

Sowmya Jayabharathwaj is a Carnatic vocalist and teacher in Pune. She trained in Bharatanatyam for 8 years under Guru Somashekar in Mysore.