Kal Ke Kalakar - Faces of the future  
- Shyamhari Chakra, Delhi 
e-mail: shyamharichakra@yahoo.com 

June 19, 2006 


For the past 45 years, Mumbai-based cultural organization Sur Singar Sansad has been hosting an annual classical dance and music festival in this city of glitz and glamour that aims at providing a platform for the budding talents. And the event is aptly christened as kal-ke-kalakar (artistes of future). 

The dance segment this year, spread over five evenings, featured 53 artistes below the age limit of 35 from different parts of the country. While Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Odissi had a large number of participants, Kuchipudi, Manipuri and Mohiniattam appeared marginalized with just one or a couple of artistes. And there was no representation of Kathakali and Sattriya. Although the event aims at discovering talented soloists, participants are also being permitted to perform duets and as trio as well. Each artiste was allowed to perform for 25 minutes to live or recorded music and the jury comprising veteran dancers and musicians would select the awardees for the coveted Singar Mani titles that would be announced later on. 

Although most of the budding dancers demonstrated their immense possibilities to prove their potentials as the faces of future, we discuss some of them who left an indelible imprint upon the audience. 

Vijna Rani 
Purnima Roy 
Chennai-based Bharatanatyam dancer Vijna Rani could be safely claimed as the find of the festival. A final year student of visual communications, this disciple of the world famous dancing couple - the Dhananjayans danced with effortless ease and mesmerized the audience with her neat movements and emotive expressions. The other outstanding performer in this south Indian style was Medini Hombal, a final year dance student of Benaras Hindu University whose parents and grand parents are also dancers. The solid foundation that she has imbibed as a student at the famous Kalakshetra in Chennai was evident in her performance. 
Raksha Singh
Samiksha Sharma
Pallabi De
Kathak, that enjoys the greatest popularity in Mumbai, had a large number of outstanding artistes. While Raksha Singh of Bokaro Steel City, Samiksha Sharma of Gwalior and Pallabi De of Kolkata excelled as soloists, Delhi-based Purnima Roy and Leena Malakar (a Nepali lass) and teenagers Pooja Pant and Mugdha Mane of Mumbai put up pulsating performances. 

In Odissi segment, the male dancer duo from Orissa Dance Academy (ODA), Bhubaneswar - Bijay Kumar Sahoo and Bijay Kumar Das stormed the stage with an electrifying performance. And as solo dancers, Sangeetha Rajan, Snehanjali Behera, Ketki Shetge (all from Mumbai) and Supriti Nayak of ODA left lasting impressions as performers of pure dance while Shama Patni of Pune and Bhubaneswar-based Sabitri Mallick excelled in 'abhinaya,' the expressional dance. 

Sabitri Mallick
PB Pallavi
Bijay Kumar Sahoo
The lone participant in Kuchipudi, Hyderabad's P B Pallavi was a connoisseurs' delight. Groomed by her dancer-mother P B Krishna Bharathi, this fresh graduate in electronics engineering had a majestic stage presence and exhibited perfection and artistry in her performance. 

Graphic designer turned Mohiniattam dancer, Mumbai's Miti Desai marveled in her lyrical movements that has been the hallmark of this intensely feminine and enchanting dance form of Kerala. Male Manipuri dancer Rudrayan Ganguli of West Bengal was the other impressive performer.

A former journalist with the Indian Express group, Shyamhari Chakra is a New Delhi based freelancer writing on dance and culture. He is building up an archive on Odissi dance in Bhubaneswar.