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Song & dance tribute to Odissi stalwarts

(Top) Suhag Nalini Das and her troupe perform Odissi at the Odissi Dance and (above) Odia singer Biswanath Pujapanda performs at Rabindra Mandap in Bhubaneswar. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, March 15: Two late stalwarts of Odisha’s classical music and dance — Singhari Shyam Sundar Kar and Adi Guru Pankaj Charan Das — have their birth anniversaries in March. Veteran and young artistes paid tribute to them at a cultural evening organised in their fond memory by Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Research Centre at Rabindra Mandap last evening.

The event opened with a homage to Odissi music exponent Shyam Sundar Kar, with veteran vocalists presenting his memorable compositions. Biswanath Pujapanda’s rendition of Manda milinda brunda, celebrating the mood of spring, immediately transported the listeners to the era of the late musician.

Following this composition on raga Sohini, Pujapanda charmed music enthusiasts with Ki sobha murali pani, along with a devotional song.

Veteran singer Shyamamani Devi left the audience spellbound with her precise rendition of the ancient composition Kahinki mo thare describing the passion of a woman in love. She then continued her presentation with Manda hasinire and Mhanare bajana. Sadasiba’s Saaja sajja sarasija was gripping while noted singer Lata Ghosh’s enchanting voice made her performance of the bhajan Daake dukhe jodi hatha unforgettable.

“The compositions of Shyam Sundar Kar are immortal, which is why he is rightly called the Maudamani or king of Odissi music. He was the teacher of today’s legends such as Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia among many others. The veteran vocalists gave a perfect tribute to the inspiring musician,” said viewer Basudeb Mohapatra.

Then came the turn of the dancers to express their gratitude to the senior-most Odissi guru, Pankaj Charan Das. Despite having taught the nuances of his choreography to many well-known names in this field, only the guru’s family members were seen performing on stage.

The organisers had invited Das’s daughter Bijaylakshmi Das and the artistes of the Guru Pankaj Charan Odissi Research Foundation, led by his daughter-in-law Suhag Nalini Das. The dancers showcased the choreographies of the late guru.

Starting with Pankaj Charan Das’s famous composition, the Shankarabharan pallavi, Bijaylaxmi depicted a special creation of by her father, an abhinaya on Nahin ke karidela, one of the first-ever Odissi choreographies to be presented on stage.

This solo recital was followed by Suhag Nalini’s performance of Nabadurga, which illustrated the nine different forms of Goddess Durga.

The event concluded with a group recital by the dancers of the foundation.

“The event was held in memory of the remarkable figures of Odisha’s music and dance fields. Their contribution to the state’s culture is vast and incomparable,” said music exponent Ramahari Das, the chief executive of Odissi Research Centre. Eminent veteran Odissi dancers such as Minati Mishra and Priyambada Mohanty Hejmadi attended the event.