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Kalaarpan Festival: Tribute to the mentor
- Vijay Shanker

June 17, 2019

On behalf of Krishna Kathak Kala Kendra, Kathak exponent Anupriya Mukherjee organized the Kalaarpan Festival on May 31, 2019 at the mini Kashinath Ghanekar auditorium in Thane. This is the first time that Anupriya Mukherjee, without any corporate sponsorship, has taken the initiative to organize this festival in reverence for her mentor, the acclaimed Kathak exponent Pandit Rajendra Gangani of the Jaipur Gharana. His wife made a gracious appearance.

The program commenced with the Kathak performance by the dancers who attended the workshop conducted by Dheerendra Tiwari, disciple of Rajendra Gangani and an accomplished exponent too. This is the second time that Dheerendra has conducted the workshop in Dombivli due to enthusiastic response he received from Kathak aspirants. The students danced Taal Dhamar with enthusiasm. While Rohit Deo played the tabla, the dancers were supported by Shreerang Tambe on harmonium and Dheerendra Tiwari on padant.

Vaishali Dudhe & group

Arunima Sengupta

Kathak mentor Vaishali Dudhe is among the most successful Kathak exponents in Dombivli and some of her students have also opened their classes and are training young aspirants. Vaishali's students dance with a rare charm with fine synchronization of movements, creating a pleasant spectacle for the audience. Vaishali has published a book on Kathak and is among the foremost disciples of the veteran mentor Dr. Manjiri Deo from Thane.

Arunima Sengupta from Kolkata was one of the dancers invited to perform in the festival. Attired in long gown like costume Arunima danced an innovative composition by Rajendra Gangani with appealing music by Jayanta Banerjee. Entitled 'Pratiti' - beyond the known, Arunima made a fine attempt with considerable command over pure dance and layakari. The performance was more on an abstract level without any particular interpretation. With more involvement pertaining to the finer aspects of dancing, one can definitely expect a better performance.

Anupriya Mukherjee commenced her performance with Shiva Vandana and danced to chautaal with precision and accuracy. In her brief concert, Anupriya danced varied pure dance compositions, revealing her command over layakari. Anupriya is talented and is capable of doing much more. She received fine orchestral support from Samiullah Khan for vocal, Malhar Mahavir for tabla, sarangi by Sandeep Mishra and padant by Dheerendra Tiwari.

Anupriya Mukherjee

Tina Tambe

Dr. Tina Tambe is one of the leading Kathak exponents in Mumbai who also heads the Ninaad Centre for Performing Arts, besides performing for some of the most prestigious festivals in India and abroad. Tina's performance combines a rare quality of command over the technique, blending well with stylized and synchronized movements executed with elegance and poise. Attired in black and contrasting red costume, Tina commenced her performance with the Durga Stuti in raag Malkauns, incorporating the virile and benevolent aspects of the goddess. Tina danced to chautaal in 12 matras and presented varied pure dance sequences like kram laya, utthan, thaat, aamad, parmelu, anaghat paran and tatkaar, the most notable execution being 'Khade pair ki tatkaar' wherein the dancer dances with emphasis on one foot, while maintaining perfect rhythm and accuracy. Tina concluded with a beautiful composition in raag Yaman that interpreted the sringara of Radha and the bhakti of Meera.

Sanjeet Gangani & Dheerendra Tiwari

The most vivacious performance of the evening was the Kathak duet of Dheerendra Tiwari and Sanjeet Gangani. Sanjeet is the talented son and disciple of Pt Rajendra Gangani. Incidentally, they were supposed to perform separately but due to time constraints they performed a jugalbandi, setting the stage on fire. Dheerendra's expertise and Sanjeet's vitality made a fine combination; they danced teen taal and some rare numbers of late Kundanlal Gangani and Rajendra Gangani. Talented tabla maestro Malhar Mahavir teamed up well in maintaining the rhythmic accuracy of the performance. The chakkars of the duo created a lasting spell on the audience.

It is really gratifying to see dancers coming forward to organize festivals and encourage performers to participate and exhibit their talent, as platforms are not easily available.

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

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