It was with a heightened feeling of déjà vu that one watched Meitei Jagoi’s production of Chandalika at Madhusudan Mancha recently. This dance-drama, composed by Rabindranath Tagore, is an immensely popular and oft-performed work. And thereby hangs a tale. Of mind-numbing monotony. Meitei Jagoi’s presentation failed to offer any fresh choreographic initiative. Uninspired movement patterns made it bland, to say the least. Of the cast, Ambika Bhandari as Doiwala, and later as Rajanuchar, displayed a certain degree of vibrancy, while Rinky Mahato as Prakriti and Manasi Sengupta as her mother seemed to be mindlessly replicating a performance they have delivered many times over. The programme’s strength lay in the musical score, a recording of Chandalika with the late Roma Mondal’s impassioned singing of Prakriti’s songs being its highest point.
Earlier in the evening, a presentation entitled Balinese Creation choreographed by Devjani Chaliha, the Manipuri exponent, was enjoyable. Though based on impression rather than on the grammar and structure of the enchanting dance of Bali, it was a delightful effort set to a piece of impressionistic music composed by Zakir Hussain. Sukumar Tandava, by Mallika Saha and Sharmistha Ghosh, set to a variety of tala patterns was also a pleasing rendition. The dancers displayed admirable coordination in this piece.
It is only natural that a man who has travelled to some of the most enchanting places in the world would want to capture their beauty on film. So is the case with Siddharth, whose exhibition of photographs, Moments, was on display at the Palladian Lounge from May 17-30. Be it the rolling meadows of the Scottish Highlands, the majestic calm of the Kanchenjungha or the eerie stillness of North Bengal’s forests, Siddharth has been lucky enough to experience them all. The photographs are ordinary, but they convey a sense of wonder at the beauty and bounty of nature. In this collection, we come across images of a pink dawn creeping slowly over sleepy Darjeeling, blooming sunflowers in Oslo, a regal tigress in Ranthambhor and so on. However, the most captivating image is that of spring in the Belgian countryside that shows trees standing tall in a green haze. In these pompous times, it is also heartening to discover a photographer who is willing to take himself or his work not too seriously.