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The 27th edition of Raindrops Festival
-  Vijay Shanker
Photos: Girish Nambiar

July 27, 2017

Sam Ved Society for Performing Arts presented the three day Raindrops Festival, from 13 to 15th July at mini theatre, Ravindra Natya Mandir, in Mumbai. It was interesting to watch dancers of different dance styles performing with lot of enthusiasm and devotion. The new styles included this year were Vilasini Natyam and Sattriya dance.

Normally the monsoon is the slack season as far as performing arts are concerned but every year Sam Ved boldly takes the step forward to organize the Raindrops Festival, inviting particularly the attention of young talented dancers from all over India, for which the credit goes to the director, accomplished Kathak exponent Uma Dogra, who recently won the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi award. The festival was coordinated by Suhani Singh and Indrayanee Mukherjee. Besides featuring seven classical dancers, the festival commenced with a short film on Uma Dogra titled 'Kathakar' by Indrayanee Mukherjee that gives you an insight into the growth and development of Uma Dogra as a Kathak dancer, spanning five decades. This was followed by a lively Kathak performance by the disciples of Uma Dogra.

Slide show

The second day of the festival, started with the Bharatanatyam performance by Snigdha Menon, disciple of Gayatri Subramaniam of Takshashila Dance Academy, blessed with necessary qualities on how to become a fine exponent. Snigdha revealed her command over expressional dancing in Meera bhajan and maintained the aramandi and angashuddhi in the pure dance sequences which was creditable and impressive. Sattriya duo Dipjyoti and Dipankar were pleasing for the dramatic display of Ramayana, embellished with graceful and subtle movements.Durgesh Gangani, son and disciple of Dr. Jagdish Gangani of Jaipur Gharana of Kathak, created a magical spell with his brilliant footwork and layakari but could not score in expressions.

Odissi exponent Soumya Bose, disciple of Sujata Mohapatra, performed with abundant grace and precision in "Nachenti range Hari," a beautiful choreography by Kelubabu with music by Pt Bhubaneswar Misra. His depiction of Oriya composition "Path chadide" in which Krishna stops Radha from plucking flowers, was noteworthy for the subtle expressions and sancharis featuring the sringara of Radha and Krishna. Another male dancer who created a great impression was Mithun Shyam from Bangalore, a disciple of Guru Padmini Ramachandran. The most powerful performance that was applauded by the audience, was "Bagenu" that vividly describes the plight and suffering of the outcaste Kanakadasa and how he ultimately gets a darshan of the Lord. This number was sung exquisitely by Srivatsa.

Dr. Anupama Kylash, disciple of Swapnasundari, revealed her scholarly study and research of Vilasini Natyam with her speeches and rendering that gave a wonderful insight into the theme, style and technique, taking you closer to the audience in the lokadharmi style pertaining to man and woman relationships. Tall and charming Kathak dancer Nayantara Parpia, disciple of Yogini Gandhi, was the last but one of the best performers of the festival.

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