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Tributes to a great master
- Vijay Shanker
Photos courtesy: Smitalay

May 4, 2017

Smitalay and Sangeet Mahabharati organized 'Anusaran' at the Sangeet Mahabharati premises in Juhu, Mumbai, on 9th April. This program of dance and music was a tribute to the great mentor and Odissi exponent Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. Anusaran is a yearly tribute to Kelubabu, as he was fondly called. Three accomplished Odissi exponents, Jhelum Paranjape, Debi Basu and Daksha Mashruwala join hands to organize this program wherein they and their disciples perform Odissi, both traditional and innovative numbers, to express their reverence for their guru.

Jhelum Paranjape

Daksha Mashruwala

Debi Basu

The program commenced with an abhinaya number "Brajaku Chora" which is a lullaby, establishing the relationship between the mother and the little infant performed by Daksha Mashruwala. Jhelum Paranjape performed the popular number on Draupadi who feels completely helpless, in spite of having five husbands but is saved by the grace of Lord Krishna. Jhelum succeeded in portraying the trauma and the suffering of Draupadi with commendable abhinaya and characterization.

Debi Basu presented two numbers. In the ashtapadi "Priye Charusheele" it is Krishna who feels sad and tries to convince Radha of his true love for her but unfortunately the character of Krishna was not distinctly portrayed. It was more of Radha, hence the number did not create the proper impact as expected. Debi Basu's two disciples Sangeeta Rajan and Swati Apte presented an innovative abhinaya number which naturally portrays the various roles of the woman with a philosophical and psychological perspective, drawing inspiration from different poets, enacted well by the dancers.

One of the most interesting numbers of the evening, pertaining to the theme and presentation was the zodiac signs. With choreography by Daksha Mashruwala and beautiful music by Pandit Nayan Ghosh, Namrata Gupta projected herself as a fine dancer, as she portrayed the varied and typical characteristics of the zodiac, the most impressive being the "angika abhinaya" of the lion, the scorpion, etc Although the continuity was affected due to twelve segments, Namrata definitely created a lasting impression on the spectators.

Jhelum Paranjape's students

Daksha Mashruwala's student

Debi Basu's students

Last but not least, the performance was 'Ravan.' As is known to everyone, Ravan was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. After sheer penance he feels restless and tries to lift Mount Kailash. Lord Shiva is shaken and Ravan is about to be crushed but he asks for mercy and recites the Ravan stotra. With choreography by Jhelum Paranjape's senior disciple Ankur Balal and music by Vijay Rajagopalan, the entire presentation was quite rhythmic and performed in quick succession creating a fine impression. The role of Ravan was played well by Dilip Tambe, Shiva by Sumedh Pawar, and Parvati by Vaishnavi. The other dancers included Sanjay Singh, Dipali, Rupali, Apurva and Manisha. It was a fine attempt by Ankur Balal, a befitting tribute to a great master performer.

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