Homage to the guru
Odissi Dancers’ Forum presented Barsa Utsav at Gyan Manch on August 12. As a tribute to legendary Odissi dancer Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra, his students presented a bouquet of dance numbers based on Tagore songs, Nazrulgeeti, Hindi songs and other numbers. From experienced dancers like Manju Banerjee and Poushali Mukherjee to those of the present generation, all the participants performed in an earnest and lively manner. An innovative choreography based on the Hindi number Bole re papi hara by Sutapa Talukdar enthralled the audience. Hridaye amar nachere ajike, choreographed by Aloka Kanungo and performed by Atreyee Majumdar, was also well appreciated. Ratikant Mahapatra’s Hanuman Vandana was marked by sharp movements and rich expressions.
Aaj Sraboner Amontroney (Birla Academy, August 31) was a sincere presentation of Tagore’s compositions. Apala Basu’s conceptualisation and direction made it an event that stood apart from the several such soirees held regularly this season. Both Basu’s and Swastika Mukerjee’s solo contributions, Baaje karun surey and Aaji tomaye aabar respectively, were a class apart from the rest. Readings from Tagore’s writings rang with a sense of unfettered freedom that rains and gusty winds bring to humdrum existence. Most of the chorus numbers were well-coordinated. The choreography blended smoothly with the vocal presentations, the only discordant note at times being the loud musical accompaniment.
If it wasn’t for the kids, who were almost without exception natural actors, with a seemingly innate sense of comic timing, the play Murkir Hanri could have turned into a yawn. With a long, meandering story about a poor man who receives a boon from the gods, director Monojit Sengupta of Berhampore Chharpatra tries to establish the moral that greed is not good. Among the all-children cast, 10-year-old Chandrashekhar Halder, who charmed everyone recently with his comic portrayal of a scheming brat in the play, Dumb Person’s Tale, stands out as the belly god, Ganesh. Anamitra Mullick, Gayatri Sarkar, Prasanta Dey, Samyajit Sengupta, Rabindranath Halder and Shubhodeep Mondal all play their roles as assorted gods and goddesses with spirit.