A dance tribute to Naushad
- Vijay Shankar
March 10, 2017
Shahr-e-Lucknau is a Kathak production conceptualized by Guru Renu Sharma, director of Pt Birju Maharaj’s Kalashram, Mumbai and Uma Trigunayat, Director of Alpika, Lucknow where the golden melodies of yesteryear composer Naushad Ali were brought to the stage through vibrant Kathak dances. It was presented as part of the Chitralekha Theatre Awards Ceremony on January 20, 2017 at Bhavan’s Cultural Centre, Andheri in Mumbai.
Shahr-e-Lucknau began with ‘Bhakti’ through two compositions, Man tarpat Hari darshan ko aaj by Sunil Sunkara and Nagari nagari dware dware dhondhoo re sawariya presented by Renu Sharma, Karan Kishan and Sunil Sunkara. It is truly an amalgamation of Krishna bhakti presented through predominantly Mughal era ragas like Malkauns. This was followed by Sawan geet or Rain songs of UP presented by the Alpika troupe and a duet Jhoola presented by Karan and Nidhi Prabhu. Viyog-Milan was presented by Sunil Sunkara through two depictions of the nayaka in songs Aaye na baalam and Ganga ki mauj, both of which were super hits on the silver screen when enacted by Bharat Bhushan. Sunil through his subtle abhinaya presented the nayaka in longing.
An ode to Radha through the popular songs Mohe panghat and Madhuban mey Radhika were presented by Nidhi and Karan. This was followed by the troupe performing to vibrant Holi songs from the movie Aan, India’s first technicolour movie. Dancers Piyaltaru Dasgupta, Anupriya Chatterjee, Tejas Desai, Shraddha, Kanishka, Malvika, Amruta, Dhruti, Shweta, Priyanka, Rani and Tejashree truly brought a vibrant and colourful spirit to the stage.
The beautiful thumri sung by Rajkumari, Nazariya ki maari mari meri guyiyan, presented the proshitpatika nayika, or the heroine separated from her paramour. This thumri was a choreographic highlight of the evening and truly brought the beauty and delicacy of Lucknow to the stage. A muqabala section, highlighting the era when musicians and singers competed for the favour of the king was presented through the qawali Teri mehfil mei kismet and Aaj gawat man mero, the iconic song from Baiju Bawra sung by Amir Khan and Paluskar. The qawali was presented as a jugalbandhi between Heena Parmar and Renu Sharma supported by the Alpika troupe. Karan and Sunil enacted the roles of Baiju Bawra and Tansen and presented the musical competition through dance. The finale was through evergreen songs from the magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam. Renu Sharma presented the Lacchu Maharaj choreography, Jab raat hai aisi matwali followed by the very popular Pyar kiya toh darna kya.
Karan, Piyaltaru and Sunil presented the iconic Gopi Krishna paran with great vigour which was followed by a beautiful portrayal of Anarkali by Heena Parmar. Heena who is seen on television in the role of Anarkali did great justice to the choreography by Renu Sharma. Renu Sharma also teaches Abhudaya girls under the Mera Sitara initiative, some of whom were given a chance to showcase their talent with the Alpika troupe. The dance was supported greatly through appropriate backgrounds given by Yashoverman Sharma. Shruti Vaidya, the dialogue writer of many popular serials like Saraswati Chandra, Balika Vadhu, Mahakumbh and Bal Ganesh, anchored Shahr-e-Lucknau and kept the audience engaged.
Vijay Shankar is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.