by Kapilas Bhuyan
It was a rare occasion on January 8th evening to celebrate the 93rd birth anniversary of the legendary Odisi doyen Padmabhusan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra by the disciples of his lineage.
If dancing as a way of life is a journey, then this journey, more often than not is a journey within to connect the inner being. Without this inner connection the dancing, though practiced very diligently abiding the rule book, does not hook the viewers.
This was quite evident in the presentation of the dance numbers by four of Guruji’s lineage disciples during the occasion. The youngest of the lot was Riddhi Bhattacharya who in the initiation part of Odisi dance repertoire called ‘Mangla Charan’, came up with her recital ‘Jaya Mahesha’, a prayer to Lord Shiva. A direct disciple of Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, her dance movements were crisp and appealing. Invoking the power and divine strength of Lord Shiva, this dance piece was set to the choreography of Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, to Raag- Ragamalika and Taal- Talamalika.
In the second part of the Odisi dance repertoire ‘Pallavi’, Bharati Mishra, a young danseuse from the GKCM Odisi Research Center, came up with her recital set to Raag Aarabi and Ekatali, a pure dance presentation, choreographed by Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra himself and set to the music composition of Pt. Bhubaneswar Mishra. What was interesting in this recital was that the audience could hear Guruji’s voice in carrying out the ‘Bols’ of the Taal, and thus the audience got mesmerized hearing the man’s voice many years after his demise.
Bharati Mishra’s recital was awesome. All her steps and body movements were correct to the core of the grammar. However, what was lacking in her performance was the befitting ‘bhaav’ and the required energy without which the performer couldn’t hook the heart of the audience.
But one can hope that as Bharati is a young person, she can improve upon it and with experience she no doubt can surpass these limitations.
The next performance in the ‘Abhinay’ section of Odisi dance repertoire was the recital by danseuse Rajashri Praharaj about Ram Bhajan- Sri Ramachandra Krupalu Bhajamana, composed by Saint Tulsidas. Known for her technical virtuosity and captivating stage presence, unlike Bharati while keeping her grammar correct Rajashri danced with good enough energy the various facets of Lord Rama in the devotional presentation set to Raagamalika and Talamalika.
Rajashri, a direct disciple of Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, has been growing as a solo performer and etched out a name for herself in the field within a short span of time. She is a recipient of Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar of Central sangit Natak Academy for her virtuosity.
The final solo presentation of the evening was by Meera Das. A senior disciple of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. Mira went on for presenting an Ashtapadi, from poet Jayadeva’s Geeta Govinda – Sakhi he Keshi Mathana Mudaram, a classic choreography by Guruji, set to Pt. Bhubaneswar Mishra’s soulful music composition.
The programme concluded with a scintillating musical jugalbandi of Flute and Violin by Sri Agnimitra Behera and Sri Srinibas Satapathy, two of the most prominent and reputed classical musicians of Odisha. Accompanied by Sri Nanda on the Tabla and Sri Vaibhav on percussion, their soulful rendition coupled with the seamless rhythmic variations, made this an enthralling presentation.
Aptly titled as ‘Antardrishti’, the event was jointly organized by ‘Srjan- Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Nrityabasa’ and ‘Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Research Centre’.
(The writer is a Senior Journalist and National Award winning Filmmaker)