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Sanskriti Mahotsav
- Vijay Shanker
Photos: Suresh Muraleedharan

September 27, 2017

Sarfojiraje Bhonsle Centre presented the Triveni Shastriya Nritya Samaroha Sanskriti Mahotsav at the mini P L Deshpande Auditorium in Mumbai on 21st and 22nd August. The top performers who featured in the festival were Pt Pratap Pawar, Vyjayanti Kashi, Sandhya Purecha, Ayswaria Wariar and Archana Joglekar. The program was supported by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

Pratap Pawar

Archana Joglekar

Ayswaria Wariar
London based Kathak Guru Pratap Pawar is a veteran performer, who continues to keep the audience spellbound with his mesmerizing performance, aesthetic quality and technical expertise. Unfortunately, the performance duration had to be reduced due to time constraints; it would have been interesting to hear him talk about his experiences. Commencing with the traditional ‘thaat,’ moving slowly with gliding movements with emphasis on style and grace, Pawar announced that these days, dancers want to make a quick response, hence perform in great speed, reducing the beauty of the performance. Besides the pure dance part of the performance, Pawar impressed the audience with subtle portrayal of the abhisarika nayika, who sets out to meet her lover on a rainy day. Pawar had earlier conducted a workshop, so the students were thrilled to see the performance of the master artiste.

After a long time, Mumbai audience had a chance to see New Jersey based Kathak exponent Archana Joglekar, daughter and disciple of Asha Joglekar. With minimum makeup, the green eyed Archana charmed the audience as she danced with ease and precision. She commenced with Sri Ramachandra Krupalu, the Surdas bhajan. Besides the footwork, Archana created an unusual impact with the Hori ki virahi in which Meera is grief stricken as she is without her lord and is unable to enjoy the festival. Archana’s disciple performed the tarana quite well.

Mohiniattam dancer Ayswaria Wariar performed in Mumbai after quite some time. The slim and trim dancer created a great impression with her meticulous approach to technique, coupled with elegance. The highlight of her performance was Maya Mohana in Mohana ragam that featured episodes like Draupadi Vastraharanam, Gajendra Moksham, Prahlada and ultimately Arjuna’s divine intervention with Lord Krishna at Kurukshetra.

Bangalore based Kuchipudi exponent Vyjayanti Kashi commenced with Tarangam, an extract from Narayana Teertha’s Krishna Leela Tarangini. The highlight was the adbhuta rasa when mother Yashoda sees the entire universe in the mouth of little Krishna and the dancing on the rim of the brass plate, as the dancer symbolizes the ‘Karma Yogi’ and was executed with effortless ease and precision. The piece-de-resistance of the evening was the portrayal of Gandhari. Being a devotee of Lord Shiva, Gandhari is blessed with the rare boon of bearing 101 sons. Gandhari is excited to marry the eldest Kuru prince Dritarashtra but her hopes and aspirations are shattered when she realizes that the prince was born blind, hence would not become the emperor. Completely disappointed, Gandhari blindfolds herself to face the stark reality. Vyjayanti succeeded in getting into the skin of the character, facing trials and tribulations, dominated by the patriarchal society - an irony of both pain and pleasure. She received a standing ovation for her powerful performance.

Vyjayanti Kashi

Sandhya Purecha

Dr. Sandhya Purecha and her disciples Chitra, Suhani, Aishwarya, Pushkara, Shambhavi and Durva performed Bharatanatyam. An extract from Sandhya’s Sanskrit treatise ‘Shiva Tatva Nidhi,’ Ananda Tandavam was performed incorporating Sapta Tandava followed by Bho Shambho that featured the lord of dance, his varied manifestations as the lord of creation, destruction and preservation. The performance concluded with Javali of the lovelorn nayika. Sandhya and her disciples created a magical spell with their vivacious performance.

Pandit Pratap Pawar, Vyjayanti Kashi and Archana Joglekar were bestowed with the Gaurav Puraskar. The guests of the evening included Sunayana Hazarilal, musicologist Dr. Shailesh Shrivastava and Dilip Shinde.

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